Comcast calls in Hanbury for help with £22bn Sky takeover bid
The Tory-led lobbying firm will provide 'strategic advice' to the broadcasting and cable TV giant.
The US cable giant bidding to take over Sky has called in Hanbury Strategy after getting the green light from the culture secretary.
Comcast is ensnared in a transatlantic bidding war with Disney to acquire the bulk of Fox, the group that owns 39 per cent of Sky. Matt Hancock gave the go-ahead to the ComCast offer last month and the European Commission has approved the proposed takeover.
However Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has expressed concerns about the sale of Sky, saying the priority must be to ensure that Sky News retains its independence. A trenchant critic of the bid, Watson has said that it is important that Comcast's offer is "properly scrutinised and full due process is followed."
Now Comcast has called in Hanbury, set up by former Conservative special advisers Ameet Gill and Paul Stephenson, to provide support in the political battle ahead.
Former Number 10 strategy chief Gill has been cleared to work on the account by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. The lobbying firm will provide “strategic advice” to Comcast and there will be no contact with the UK government, according to Acoba. It is understood to be the first M&A deal that Hanbury has advised on.
Since setting up in 2016 Hanbury has grown especially quickly and is now a 25-strong outfit. Last month PAN reported that Hanbury had won pitch to help The Faraday Institution which has been set up to drive and accelerate fundamental research in developing battery technologies.
Comcast is the second-largest broadcasting and cable television company in the world by revenue. It has bid £22bn for Sky and must publish its formal offer to shareholders by July 13.