Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Antoinette Montgomery

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 boosted its bid for Sky Plc, topping a rival offer from Comcast in the battle for control of Britain's top pay-TV company. It's said that the new $38-a-share price is about $10 a share higher than the original offer from Disney back in December, and it's also $3 above Comcast's most recent bid.

"Comcast has long admired Sky and believes it is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast", Comcast said in a statement. "The enhanced scale and capabilities of the combination will enrich Sky's ability to continue on its mission for years to come, especially at a time of dynamic change in our industry".

The U.S. cable group gatecrashed Murdoch's attempt to buy the 61 percent of Sky his group did not already own in February, when Fox was still firmly stuck in the regulatory process.

Sky operates in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Italy as well as the U.K. It has 22.5 million customers, attracted by offerings such as English Premier League soccer and "Game of Thrones". Its board had previously approved Fox's takeover of the company, but withdrew that blessing after Comcast unveiled its counteroffer in April.

It now remains to be seen whether Comcast will beef up its bid even further to beat Fox's richer offer. Disney has agreed to take ownership of Sky if it succeeds in its effort to purchase 21st Century Fox.

The clock was ticking on Fox to make a higher bid for Sky, because Comcast faces a deadline of Friday to formally deliver its offer to shareholders of the London-based company, under United Kingdom takeover rules.

However, British regulators have indicated that if Disney succeeds in buying Fox, including the 39 percent stake in Sky, it would be required to offer the same price for the remainder of Sky.

That opposition still runs strong among many British politicians and activists.

Just when you thought Disney had wrapped things up with its huge $71.3 billion bid for 20th Century Fox, The Hollywood Reporter brings word of another speedbump.

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