Comcast’s Roberts says a London cab driver helped influence Sky bid

Comcast bid $31 billion for Sky. (Pixabay)

While he claims to have had his eye on the U.K. satellite TV company for years, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that it was a recent talk with a London cab driver that convinced him to bid for Sky last week. 

Roberts told investment analysts and reporters last week that he was recently with unnamed members of his executive team in London. "I suggested that we jump in a taxi and go to one of the malls and get a demo of Sky in one of their shops. And we had a fabulous experience," he said.

"The cab driver was incredibly knowledgeable about the difference between Virgin and 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 and comparing it to our own ... We were really terribly impressed."

Comcast bid $31 billion for Sky, roughly $4.2 billion more than what 21st Century Fox had bid earlier to acquire the remaining 69% of Sky it doesn’t already own. 

Sky competes in the UK pay TV market with Liberty Global-owned Virgin. 

RELATED: Deeper Dive—Comcast’s Sky bid a hit in Europe, but company’s in ‘penalty box’ with some analysts back home

Roberts has defended the bid, which isn’t popular with some U.S. investment analysts also observing the deterioration of Dish Network and DirecTV satellite TV platforms in the U.S.

"Frankly, there's nothing as great in the United States," he said.

"Seeing it again, and listening to the passion of the sales and looking at the product ... all those things combined to reinforce what a number of us have known for years—that this is a jewel."