ibusinesslines.com September 20, 2018

Comcast raises bid for Sky to $34 billion

12 July 2018, 12:54 | Kelvin Horton

Mai Fyfield is viewed as one of the main architects of Sky's success

Mai Fyfield is viewed as one of the main architects of Sky's success

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has kicked off a potential bidding war with USA entertainment giant Comcast after making a new offer for the 59pc of Sky it does not already own that values the UK-based broadcaster at £24.5bn.

"Today, 21CF and the Independent Committee of Sky are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on an increased. cash offer", a statement said on Wednesday.

Fox's takeover plan is expected to receive formal approval from the United Kingdom authorities this week after more than 18 months of investigations.

Fox raised its bid for the roughly 61% of Sky it doesn't already own by more than 30%, to £14 a share, in a deal that values all of Sky at £24.5 billion ($32.5 billion).

A top Sky shareholder told Reuters that Comcast is expected to respond with a higher offer for the company. 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. "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 now operates in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.

"It's by no means a knockout bid", Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with the New Street Research, said Wednesday evening of Comcast's new offer. Comcast offered $65 billion and is getting ready for yet another bid for Fox.

Disney secured conditional US approval to buy the assets last month, giving it an edge over Comcast's bid.

Comcast has said that Sky is very important because it could take the US -bound cable and internet giant into global markets.

That opposition still runs strong among many British politicians and activists.

The agreed price represents an 82% premium to Sky's shares in December 2016, before 21st Century Fox struck its original deal to buy Sky, and a multiple of 21 times 2017 earnings per share.

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