Fox Ups Bid for Sky, Pushing It Past Comcast Offer

Currently Comcast’s $29 billion bid has been accepted by U.K. regulators without conditions

Rupert Murdoch's Inc. boosted its bid for Sky Plc, raising the stakes for Comcast Corp.to retaliate in a battle for control of Britain's top pay-TV company.

In a statement Comcast, a $155 billion U.S. 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..."

Of course, there's still time for Comcast to make yet another counteroffer, forcing Disney to increase its bid once more.

While 21st Century Fox shareholders are poised to meet on July 27 to discuss the Walt Disney Co.

The battle for Sky intensified on Wednesday night as Comcast raised its bid for Sky, valuing the pay TV giant at £26bn.

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Disney and Comcast are also locked in a separate $70 billion-plus battle to buy most of Fox's assets, which include the 39 percent stake of Sky it already owns and the rest of the company if it emerges triumphant in Britain.

The price agreed, which represents an 82 percent premium to the price of Sky's shares in December 2016 before Fox's initial offer, is at a multiple of 21 times 2017 earnings per share, Fox said. A letter sent to employees by Lachlan and James Murdoch seemed to suggest they expect the deal with Disney to close within six to 12 months following the Department of Justice's conditional approval. Although the figure now looks to be untouchable, Comcast is expected to reply with its final offer that could climb as high as $90bn.

Fox said its ownership of Sky would position the satcaster "to compete within an environment that now includes some of the largest companies in the world, but none of [which] have demonstrated the same local depth of investment and commitment to the United Kingdom and to Europe". Fox wants a deal at 14 pounds a share.

"They're way behind the curve still", said Crispin Odey, founder of Odey Asset Management LLP, which owns shares of Sky. The opposition has not completely subsided despite the plan to spin off Sky News.

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