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Comcast parries Rupert Murdoch's Sky bid with £26bn offer

Comcast crashes Murdoch's Sky bid Comcast crashes Murdoch's Sky bid
Adrian Cunningham | 12 July, 2018, 04:37

Comcast Corp. boosted its bid for Europe's Sky TV to $34 billion on Wednesday evening, in a global I-can-do-you-one-better takeover battle with Rupert Murdoch.

Fox unveiled its new bid Wednesday morning London time just as Comcast is preparing to formalize its own $31 billion offer for Sky, probably to be sent to Sky shareholders later this week.

Shares in Sky Plc were down 0.8 percent at 14.90 pounds, suggesting investors believe Comcast could come back with another improved offer.

Comcast gatecrashed Mr Murdoch's attempt to buy the 61% of Sky his company did not already own in February while the Fox deal awaited government approval. Subscribe today and listen on the go! "So it is right that if there is any doubt about whether the proposed solution is workable, then it is the duty of the Secretary of State [Hancock] to ensure that this merger is blocked", Watson told the publication.

Comcast subsequently made a rival offer of $66bn in cash for those assets - prompting Disney to sweeten its terms last month to $85bn, including debt, in cash and shares.

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Unfortunately, Fox's troubles are not over yet as a shareholder Robert Weiss has initiated a lawsuit in order to prevent the deal from going ahead, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Murdoch owns major British newspaper titles The Times and The Sun and critics say obtaining full control also of the rolling television channel Sky News would give him too much influence in the news business. Of the assets he's seeking to acquire from Fox, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger called Sky "a real crown jewel".

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

Disney will have 90 days following the acquisition to sell off Fox's Sports Regional Networks, but is pleased to reveal that "the transaction will not harm competition, and that we were able to resolve the limited potential concerns to position us to move forward with this exciting opportunity that will enable us to create even more compelling consumer experiences".