Saudi media group SRMG inks deal to launch ‘Bloomberg Al Arabiya’ network

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Prince Bader bin Abdallah bin Mohammad bin Farhan Al Saud (L) with Mr. Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P. and former mayor of New York City at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York. (AN photo)
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Dr. Ghassan Alshibl, MD and CEO of SRMG (R) signing the Agreement with Justin Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media in Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. (AN photo)
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Dr. Ghassan Alshibl, Managing Director and CEO, SRMG (first right) Justin B Smith, CEO, Bloomberg Media (first left), John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg (second left) and Mr. Abdulrahman Alruwaita, Chairman of the Executive Committee, SRMG. (AN photo)
Updated 21 September 2017
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Saudi media group SRMG inks deal to launch ‘Bloomberg Al Arabiya’ network

RIYADH: Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) today said it has entered a long-term agreement with US-headquartered media firm Bloomberg to launch a multi-platform Arabic-language business and financial news service.
SRMG — publisher of Asharq Al-Awsat, Arab News and Aleqtisadiah — plans a 24-hour television and radio network and dedicated digital platform under the “Bloomberg Al-Arabiya” brand.
It will also publish “Bloomberg Businessweek” magazine in Arabic and launch a new conference and live events series, according to a statement from the company.
The Bloomberg Al-Arabiya platforms will provide Arabic-speaking audiences around the world with news and analysis on the companies, markets, economies and politics shaping the Middle East, the statement said.
Prince Bader bin Abdullah Al-Saud, chairman of SRMG, said the deal would give a boost to the regional media industry.
“We are very pleased with this promising partnership with Bloomberg. In addition to the many business opportunities this collaboration brings, we believe the partnership will greatly enhance the media landscape in our region,” he said.
“This is an exciting development for SRMG and a strong progression in our quest to offer the highest quality financial and business journalism from, and about the Middle East.”
Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg and former mayor of New York City, said, “The Middle East is an important, economically diverse region and our agreement with SRMG allows us to deliver the sharpest global business and financial insights to a critical audience of business decision makers.”
Headquartered in the Gulf, the Bloomberg Al Arabiya team will be managed by SRMG with support from Bloomberg, and will draw on its financial and economic content and data as well as its 2,700 reporters and analysts globally.
“Our partnership with SRMG is a significant milestone in our regional growth story, building on the introduction of an expanded suite of new media platforms in the Middle East last year,” said Justin B. Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group. “This agreement is an integral part of our strategy of forming partnerships with leading news providers in markets that have a compelling economic growth story, as we look to further expand our localized international presence.”
Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, managing director and CEO of SRMG, said: “As one of the biggest media publishing houses in the Middle East, this partnership between SRMG and Bloomberg will see us expand into the international television business. With the new era of business and economic transformation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, such a significant agreement between two leading brands will pave the way for a multi-platform ecosystem of specialized business and financial content of international standards. This is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of media and publishing in the region.”
Bloomberg editor in chief John Micklethwait said: “Bloomberg Al Arabiya will enable us to build on more than 20 years of newsgathering across the Arab world to deliver the best of Bloomberg’s news, insight and analysis.”


Comcast outbids Fox with $40 billion offer for Sky in auction

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp and co-chairman of 21st Century Fox, arrives at the Sun Valley Resort of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 10, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2018
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Comcast outbids Fox with $40 billion offer for Sky in auction

  • Disney agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox’s film and TV assets, including its existing 39 percent stake in Sky, in June and would have taken full ownership after a successful Fox takeover

LONDON: Comcast beat Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox in the battle for Sky on Saturday after offering 30.6 billion pounds ($40 billion) in a dramatic auction to decide the fate of the pay-television group.
The US cable giant bid 17.28 pounds a share for control of London-listed Sky, bettering a 15.67 pounds-a-share offer by Fox, Britain’s Takeover Panel said.
Buying Sky will make Philadephia-based Comcast, which owns the NBC network and Universal Pictures, the world’s largest pay-TV operator with around 52 million customers.
Chairman and chief executive Brian Roberts has had his eye on Sky as a way to help counter declines in subscribers for traditional cable TV in its core US market as viewers switch to video-on-demand services like Netflix and Amazon .
“This is a great day for Comcast,” he said. “This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally.”
Comcast’s knock-out offer thwarted Murdoch’s long-held ambition to win control of Sky, and is also a setback for US entertainment giant Walt Disney which would have likely been its ultimate owner.
Disney agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox’s film and TV assets, including its existing 39 percent stake in Sky, in June and would have taken full ownership after a successful Fox takeover.
Comcast’s final offer was significantly higher than its bid going into the auction of 14.75 pounds, and compares with Sky’s closing price of 15.85 pounds on Friday.
Comcast believed it needed to deliver a knock-out blow given that Fox’s existing stake in Sky gave it a chance of victory if it was a close second to Comcast, two sources said.
Comcast’s final offer — more than double Sky’s share price before Fox made its approach in December 2016 — quickly won the backing of Sky’s independent directors on Saturday.
“We are recommending it as it represents materially superior value,” said Martin Gilbert, chairman of Sky’s independent committee. “We are focused on drawing this process to a successful and swift close and therefore urge shareholders to accept the recommended Comcast offer.”
Fox will now concede defeat, a source told Reuters.
It is reviewing options for its stake, a holding that stems from Murdoch’s role in the creation of the company nearly three decades ago, the source said.
Fox declined to comment.
Comcast, which requires 50 percent plus one share of Sky’s equity to win control, said it was also seeking to buy Sky shares in the market.

HUGE PRICE
One hedge fund manager who holds Sky shares said nobody could complain about the Comcast price.
“The question now is if Fox actually sells out and if not can Comcast get to 50 percent,” he said.
Another hedge-fund manager said it was a “huge” price, and shareholders would accept it.
Sources familiar with the matter said Fox, Disney and Comcast had not been in discussions about the 39 percent stake.
The quick-fire auction marked a dramatic climax to a protracted transatlantic bidding battle waged since February, when Comcast gate-crashed Fox’s takeover of Sky.
It is a blow to 87-year-old Murdoch and the US media and entertainment group that he controls, which had been trying to take full ownership of Sky since December 2016.
Murdoch’s son James, currently chairman of Sky, was instrumental in building the company into the leading European pay TV group, with operations in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, and more than 23 million customers attracted to its top-flight sport and entertainment content.
Sky’s chief executive Jeremy Darroch said it was the beginning of a new chapter. “Sky has never stood still, and with Comcast our momentum will only increase,” he said. ($1 = 0.7648 pounds)