Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Comcast increases Sky offer to £14.75 per share

Comcast increases Sky offer to £14.75 per share

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.

The £14 per share offer is 12pc higher than the £12.50 offered by Comcast in April and 82pc higher than the stock's value before Fox made its first offer in November 2016.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Comcast was exploring tie-ups with other companies or private equity investors for its bid for the Fox assets.

Reuters is reporting that Comcast is doing it now so that Fox shareholders won't have antitrust concerns, plus increase their chances for uprooting Disney's bid.

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Fox said Disney had given its consent to the additional debt Fox would take on and said that it would reimburse Fox by around 1 billion pounds if Fox succeeds in buying Sky at that price, but the Disney-Fox transaction falls through. We strongly believe that a combined 21CF and Sky will be a powerful driver for the continued growth and vibrancy of the United Kingdom and broader global creative industries.

It's not clear yet whether Comcast will also increase its bid for 21st Century Fox to counter Disney's latest $71 billion offer. "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 bidding for Sky and the broader protracted fight over ownership of Murdoch's entertainment assets between Comcast and the Walt Disney Co. seems no closer to a conclusion even after Wednesday actions, which were surprising only in that both Comcast and Fox seemed eager to get the fight on. Sky has 23 million customers in five European countries and also boasts a market-leading platform, its Q box, and a suite of premium TV content to lure and retain subscribers, including rights to Premier League soccer.

The Department of Justice highlighted that Disney already owned a good chunk of the sports entertainment industry with ESPN, claiming that Fox's added assets would result in anti-competitive domination of the field.

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