Sept. 22 (UPI) -- In an auction that ended Saturday for control of British broadcaster Sky, Comcast outbid 21st Century Fox and its backer, Disney , with a winning bid of $39 billion. Fox already owns 39 percent of Sky. Both companies were vying for the other 61 percent during the rare, three-round auction, which was managed by Britain's Takeover Panel.
Comcast's offer at $22.57 per share outbid Fox's bid of $20.46. Sky board members agreed to recommend Comcast's offer to shareholders, who will have until Oct. 11 to accept the offer.
The bidding war between the companies began when Comcast gave an initial offer in April, which prompted Fox to increase its offer. The battle is part of a larger contest between Disney and Comcast to take over many of Fox's media and entertainment assets.
Comcast's $34 billion bid had been the top offer so far. Fox's last bid was $32.5 billion.
Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said Saturday the acquisition will allow the company to "quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally."
"This is a great day for Comcast. Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team," Roberts said in a statement. "We couldn't be more excited by the opportunities in front of us."