21st Century Fox Ups Sky Bid To $32.5B, Topping Rival Comcast

The offer is likely to be followed up by another from Comcast a rival bidder for Sky which screens hit shows such as Westworld

The offer is likely to be followed up by another from Comcast a rival bidder for Sky which screens hit shows such as Westworld

British pay-TV group Sky said Wednesday it accepted a sharply increased offer from 21st Century Fox to acquire the pan-European company, according to the Financial Times. Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky, on Wednesday said the independent committee the British company had formed for the sale has approved its offer.

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

Britain's former Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, who was replaced on Monday night with Jeremy Wright in a cabinet shakeup, had said he was willing to let the takeover go ahead, provided Fox sold Sky's 24-hour news channel to Disney.

In a statement Comcast, a $155 billion United States 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... 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 world's biggest entertainment company and owner of NBC and Universal Pictures gate crashed Murdoch's bid for Sky in February.

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".

Fox has increased its bid by just over 30% since its first offer in December 2016. Those assets include the Fox's Hollywood studios, content library, cable channels, global networks, and a 39-percent stake in Sky.

Comcast and Walt Disney (DIS.N) are locked in a separate $70 billion-plus battle to buy most of Fox's assets, which would include Sky.

Chaplin and other analysts on Wall Street are hoping that Fox, Comcast, and Disney can find a way to back off a full-out bidding war over all parts of Murdoch's entertainment empire, with Comcast taking the Sky business for the $34 billion and Disney taking the rest of the Fox entertainment assets for $71 billion.

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