21st Century Fox raises Sky bid in battle with Comcast

Muriel Colon
July 13, 2018

Comcast last night raised its offer for pay-TV giant Sky in a deal valuing it at $34bn (£25.74bn), topping an already improved bid of $32.5bn from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox earlier in the day.

In a statement Comcast, a $155 billion U.S. cable television giant, said that its latest offer represented a premium of approximately 5.4 per cent to the 21st Century Fox offer, "implying a value of approximately..."

Fox has been attempting to purchase Sky since December 2016, and has increased its offer by more than 30 percent since then, according to the AP.

"The publication of the undertakings marks the final stage of the public interest consideration of this case".

But Disney and Fox are determined to keep their deal together - Murdoch has favored Disney in negotiations over the sale of 21st Century Fox assets, including Fox's stake in Sky, to Disney.

Murdoch moved to up his original bid - of £10.75p a share - ahead of the culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, finally clearing the bid on Thursday.

"We could be seeing a bidding prioritization by Comcast for Sky over Fox, perhaps due to the fact that Comcast cannot afford both, and has to choose its battles", Cahall wrote.

Fox has also vowed to provide a Disney-owned Sky News channel with funding of at least £100 million a year for 15 years.

Another wrench has been thrown in the ongoing saga of the Disney Fox deal.

Fox's bid to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own had been held up by regulators amid concerns the United States company would have too much influence over the United Kingdom media landscape.

Fox will be hoping to see off competition from Comcast after a long battle to buy the remaining stake in Sky, having faced heavy scrutiny from the Government and the competition watchdog.

The end of the week is also be the deadline for Comcast to post an offer to Sky shareholders, who then have 60 days to consider that offer under United Kingdom takeover rules. Comcast is said to be ready to negotiate with the feds on the number of Fox RSN's it would have to divest as some of them may overlap with Comcast's NBC Sports regional networks.

Martin Gilbert, deputy chairman of Sky, said that Comcast's offer represent an "attractive premium to the current alternative offer".

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