Sunday, 18 November, 2018

21st Century Fox raises Sky bid in battle with Comcast

Comcast crashes Murdoch's Sky bid Comcast crashes Murdoch's Sky bid
Lloyd Bates | 13 July, 2018, 10:17

Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) on Wednesday raised its all-cash offer for Britain's Sky (SKYB.L) to $34 billion, topping a raised bid of $32.5 billion for the pay-TV group from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA.O).

21st Century Fox's improved bid is for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not own.

Disney's bid to buy out the majority of Fox's entertainment assets was the talk of the town a year ago, until the two companies hit a roadblock - an anti-competitive complaint by the Department of Justice.

Fox has increased its bid by just over 30% since its first offer in December 2016.

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

Comcast said its cash offer has been recommended by Sky's independent committee of directors.

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Echoing an earlier report, now it may be likely that Comcast has given up on trying to acquire Fox Studios, which means Disney will get the rights back to the X-Men, Wolverine, Deadpool, Fantastic Four and related characters.

The quick counteroffer suggests that the war to seize control of Britain's biggest pay-TV company is heating up, since the previous bid was $31 billion from Comcast in April.

Now it's up to Comcast (cmcsa) to decide how much Sky is worth. The deal between Disney and Fox is far from finalized as the latter company's shareholders still have to vote on the acquisition.

At the same time, U.K. Secretary of State Jeremy Wright gave Fox the OK on its Sky deal, provided the company divests Sky News to either Disney or another company.

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. "The market's collective wisdom appears to be pricing in a cool down in the bidding war for Fox with Disney and Comcast each rallying today, with Fox down 4%". The opposition has not completely subsided despite the plan to spin off Sky News.

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