Fox kicks off Comcast bidding war with £24.5bn Sky bid

Lewis Collier
July 12, 2018

That is how Sky shareholders feel as Murdoch controlled 21st Century Fox raised the bidding once again for Sky, eclipsing U.S. cable network Comcast's £12.50 bid with an all cash offer of £14.

In an extraordinary day of bid and counterbid, the £14-a-share offer for the 61 per cent of Sky that Fox does not already own, which has been approved by Sky's independent directors, was capped in the evening, after Wall Street had closed, by a £14.75-a-share cash bid from Comcast.

Fox could face further competition from United States cable giant Comcast however, after it forced Sky's independent directors to drop their previous backing for Fox with an unexpected 12.50 pounds per share bid for the group in February.

Sky shares traded at 14.85 pounds as of 8:14 London.

However, completion of the Sky acquisition is not a condition to completion of the Disney deal, nor will it affect the amount or form of consideration that stockholders of 21CF receive in the Disney transaction, Fox said.

Present in 23 million homes across Europe, Sky is a prized asset, with a slate of top sport and original drama content.

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"We have long recognised the unique position that Sky occupies", said Gilbert.

Its offer represents an 82 percent premium to Sky's shares in 2016 before the takeover drama started, and a multiple of 21 times 2017 earnings per share.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, an executive for 20th Century Fox has filed a lawsuit to put a stop to the sale of 21st Century Fox's studio assets to Disney, which he claims violates securities rules. Sky shares fell as much as 2% in early trading, as some investors had expected a higher counter from Fox (fox).

Fox has increased its bid by just over 30% since its first offer in December 2016. On Tuesday, he said he intends to announce his final decisions by tomorrow July 12. News Corp., which is controlled by the Murdochs, withdrew its bid for Sky soon after.

"There are enough sub-plots in the race to acquire Sky to commission a primetime drama", Salmon said.

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