Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Dora Pope

Murdoch's Fox beats Comcast with agreed $32.5 billion bid for Sky

Murdoch's Fox beats Comcast with agreed $32.5 billion bid for Sky

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has increased its offer for the Britain-based Sky television service to $32.5 billion amid the company's bidding war with Comcast.

The battle for Sky intensified on Wednesday night as Comcast raised its bid for Sky, valuing the pay TV giant at £26bn. Comcast said on Wednesday that Sky's independent board committee supports its offer that it plans to mail to Sky shareholders within days.

Currently, Comcast's $29 billion bid has been accepted by United Kingdom regulators without conditions.

Fox, which owns 39% of Sky and is due to gain British regulatory clearance for the deal this week, upped its offer to £14 ($18.60) a share, from its earlier £10.75 a share.

It now remains to be seen whether Comcast will beef up its bid even further to beat Fox's richer offer. "So it is right that if there is any doubt about whether the proposed solution is workable, then it is the duty of the Secretary of State [Hancock] to ensure that this merger is blocked", Watson told the publication.

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The big question may be for Disney who, if the price goes any higher, may start to think that the company they want to buy - Fox - is overpaying for Sky, which in turn means they are getting a worse deal.

The battle takes place in the context of a broader struggle between Comcast and its rival Disney, which are both attempting to buy the bulk of Fox's assets, including its Sky stake.

21st Century Fox is the parent company of FOX News and FOX Business.

"We welcome this increased offer", Martin Gilbert, deputy chairman of Sky, said in an emailed statement.

Sky now operates in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. A letter sent to employees by Lachlan and James Murdoch seemed to suggest they expect the deal with Disney to close within six to 12 months following the Department of Justice's conditional approval. If true, this would be in violation of security rules and may well block - or at the very least stall - Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox and its precious entertainment assets.

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