Comcast $US34b tops Fox's offer for Sky

Comcast crashes Murdoch's Sky bid

The British government has finally given the go-ahead to 21st Century Fox's bid to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own, clearing the way for an expensive shootout between Fox and Comcast for control of Europe's biggest pay-TV player. Rupert Murdoch's company is willing to pay £14 (Rs 1,254) per share - or £32.5 billion (Rs 2.96 lakh crore) - instead of £10.75 (Rs 978) per share for Sky.

Comcast on Wednesday said its cash offer had been recommended by Sky's independent committee of directors and that it has committed financing required for the deal.

Last Wednesday, Comcast returned serve on Fox with a £14.75-per-share bid for 60% of Sky, a transaction with an implied value of $34 billion. He said if Comcast wins, shareholders continue to tender their shares and if Fox wins, a shareholder vote occurs on day 60. According to some shareholders, that has set an implied higher floor for Sky's shares. "The market's collective wisdom appears to be pricing in a cool down in the bidding war for Fox with Disney and Comcast each rallying today, with Fox down 4 percent". Is this the deal that inspires more or scares off others?

To address those concerns, Fox has agreed to sell Sky News to Disney, with a commitment that the channel would be funded to the tune of £100m a year for the next 15 years.

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20th Century Fox recently set July 27 as the new date for stockholders to vote on the sale of their many film and television assets to The Walt Disney Co., which has also recently received USA anti-trust approval. "We will be posting our offer document to Sky shareholders shortly".

One hedge fund manager with a stake in Sky welcomed that pledge as a sign that Disney backed Fox in the battle. Comcast just raised its offer for European pay-tv giant Sky.

"Fox coming back in for Sky isn't a surprise in itself, but the fact the offer is slightly behind what some had anticipated brings another twist", said George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Jeremy Wright, who replaced Matt Hancock as Britain's culture and media secretary earlier this week, announced the clearance of Fox's bid on Thursday after months of regulatory review. The opposition has not completely subsided despite the plan to spin off Sky News.

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