Comcast CEO hails a cab driver’s influence in bid for Sky ‘jewel’

When Comcast boss Brian Roberts was weighing up a $31 billion offer for British broadcaster Sky, a trip to see Sky’s products in store, along with the knowledge of the London cab driver in which took him there, helped to make up his mind.

Chief Executive Roberts said the visit was one of several things in which confirmed Sky as a “jewel” in which his company should try to acquire, as Comcast looks to boost international revenues as growth inside the United States slows.

The biggest cable operator inside the United States offered on Tuesday to pay $31 billion to buy Sky, challenging Rupert Murdoch’s Fox along with Bob Iger’s Walt Disney for the European pay-TV group.

Roberts said he had closely tracked what Sky had been doing for years, however last November, he had an unexpected reminder of Sky’s influence as European’s biggest pay-TV provider while in a cab having a colleague.

“I suggested in which we jump in a taxi along with go to one of the malls along with get a demo of Sky in one of their shops. along with we had a fabulous experience,” Roberts told reporters on a call.

“The cab driver was incredibly knowledgeable about the difference between Virgin along with Sky in every feature. We were learning a lot there. Then when we to the Sky store, we spent at least an hour going through every feature along with comparing This kind of to our own… We were genuinely terribly impressed.”

Liberty Global-owned Virgin Media is usually a British rival to Sky.

Roberts said in which while the experience wasn’t the deciding factor in moving forward with the bid, This kind of reiterated the media group’s value to the chief executive.

“This kind of was another reminder for me how impressive Sky is usually, along with how lucky we might be at Comcast to be able to combine together.”

Another element in Comcast’s thinking was Sky’s success earlier This kind of month in winning the rights to show Premier League soccer matches for a fee well below analyst expectations, boosting its future earnings along with lifting its shares.

The offer is usually a huge statement of intent coming from the mild-mannered media mogul Roberts, 58, who took over as head of the cable along with entertainment conglomerate coming from his father, Ralph, who founded the company in 1963.

The younger Roberts became Comcast’s president in 1990 along with CEO in 2002, having spent his whole career at the company.

He told reporters in which he had taken a “keen interest” in Sky for many years. He said Sky’s chief executive Jeremy Darroch had shown him an early preview of the Sky Q TV platform box, along with in which several people had worked as executives for both Comcast along with Sky.

While Fox’s 39 percent stake in Sky along with the agreed takeover by Murdoch has produced complications around the company, This kind of also presented the opportunity to bid, along with Roberts said in which his London visit was a reminder of Sky’s fundamental value.

“Frankly there’s nothing as great inside the United States,” he said.

“Seeing This kind of again, along with listening to the passion of the sales along with looking at the product… all those things combined to reinforce what several us have known for years — in which This kind of is usually a jewel.”

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