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Comcast to stop buying Sky shares in the market

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By Reuters
Comcast to stop buying Sky shares in the market
FILE PHOTO: Sky Sports logos at the company's UK headquarters in West London, July 25, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo   -   Copyright  Toby Melville(Reuters)

LONDON (Reuters) – Comcast <CMCSA.O> said it would stop buying Sky’s <SKYB.L> shares in the market after it secured 38 percent of the stock plus the 39 percent holding from Rupert Murdoch in the $40 billion (£30 billion) takeover.

The U.S. cable company emerged triumphant in the long-running battle for the pay-TV group after it beat Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox <FOXA.O> in a rare auction held last weekend.

The deal, struck at a price of 17.28 pounds, also marks a setback for U.S. entertainment giant Walt Disney <DIS.N> which would have been Sky’s ultimate owner as it has agreed a separate $71 billion deal to buy most of Fox’s film and TV assets.

Fox, which helped to launch the British-based company, said on Wednesday it would now sell its 39 percent stake in Sky to Comcast, giving its U.S. rival more than 51 percent control. [nL8N1WC4Q2]

Comcast will issue the offer document on Thursday and shareholders will then be able to tender their shares in the normal way. Investors have until Oct. 11 to do so.

The deal will give Comcast, owner of Universal Pictures and the NBC network, a global footprint of 53 million customers.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Sarah Young; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)