Friday 19 July 2019

Rupert Murdoch's Fox raises offer for Sky television as bidding war hots up

Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire
Photo credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Joy Maye

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has boosted its bid for Sky, raising the stakes for Comcast to retaliate in a battle for control of Britain's top pay-TV company.

Fox offered £14 per share to value Sky at £24.5bn (€27.7bn), 12pc more than Comcast's rival £22bn (€25bn) offer. Sky shares fell as much as 2pc as some investors had expected a higher counter from Fox, but are still trading above the latest Fox bid.

"They're way behind the curve still," said Crispin Odey, founder of Odey Asset Management, which owns shares of Sky. "I think it will go at about £18."

Now it's up to Comcast to respond.

Sky is a pawn in a wider contest between Comcast and Disney for the bulk of Murdoch's media empire, as the US media giants try to take on powerful digital rivals like Netflix. Murdoch has a deal to sell Fox's entertainment assets including its Sky stake to Disney, though Comcast is weighing another bid for the Fox portfolio.

The clock was ticking on Fox to make a higher bid for Sky, because Comcast faces a deadline of Friday to formally deliver its offer documents to shareholders of the London-based company, under UK takeover rules. A spokesman for Comcast declined to comment on how the company will respond. (Bloomberg)

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