Comcast boosts Sky bid to $34M, topping Fox offer in global standoff

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

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox said it had agreed a deal to buy Britain's Sky with an offer valuing the pay-TV group at $32.5 billion (24.5 billion pounds), trumping rival bidder Comcast.

Fox raised its bid to 14 pounds ($18.58) a share as it seeks the 61 percent of Sky not already under its control. Both Fox and Disney have scheduled special shareholder meetings for July 27 in NY to approve the cash-and-stock deal to sell $71 billion in Fox assets to Disney.

Disney's bid to buy out the majority of Fox's entertainment assets was the talk of the town previous year, until the two companies hit a roadblock - an anti-competitive complaint by the Department of Justice.

Comcast believes finding such partners will not only allow it to argue that it can win antitrust approval for the Fox assets as easily as Disney, but will also boost its finances as its prepares to make a second all-cash offer later this month, the sources said. "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 world's biggest entertainment company and owner of NBC and Universal Pictures gate crashed Murdoch's bid for Sky in February. Sky has 23 million customers in five European countries and also boasts a market-leading platform, its Q box, and a suite of premium TV content to lure and retain subscribers, including rights to Premier League soccer. If true, this would be in violation of security rules and may well block - or at the very least stall - Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox and its precious entertainment assets. Many expect Comcast to counter Disney's $71 billion with a higher bid.

And should Comcast be successful in its bid to overtake Disney and buy Fox, Disney could in turn buy those RSN's and fold them into the ESPN brand.

If Fox buys the remaining stake in Sky prior to closing the Disney deal, Disney would take full-ownership of the British company upon completion of the larger transaction.

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