21st Century Fox bid for Sky gets government approval

21st Century Fox bid for Sky gets government approval

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

Even as 21st Century Fox shareholders prepare to look at Disney's latest bid, Comcast is getting ready to increase its offer.

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 to shareholders of the London-based company, under United Kingdom takeover rules.

Reuters is reporting that Comcast is doing it now so that Fox shareholders won't have antitrust concerns, plus increase their chances for uprooting Disney's bid. Although the figure now looks to be untouchable, Comcast is expected to reply with its final offer that could climb as high as $90bn.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Comcast was exploring tie-ups with other companies or private equity investors for its bid for the Fox assets. Comcast offered $65 billion and is getting ready for yet another bid for Fox.

"This transformative transaction will position Sky so that it can continue to compete within an environment that now includes some of the largest companies in the world", Fox said.

The end of the week is also be the deadline for Comcast to post an offer to Sky shareholders, who then have 60 days to consider that offer under United Kingdom takeover rules.

Unfortunately, Fox's troubles are not over yet as a shareholder Robert Weiss has initiated a lawsuit in order to prevent the deal from going ahead, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Murdoch's company still faces significant regulatory battles in Britain, including the culture secretary's statement that Fox would have to divest itself of Sky News to win government approval because of concerns about media plurality.

Richard Greenfield at BTIG said however he thought Disney needed to buy Sky to secure a direct relationship with customers in Europe so it could sell them its vast range of programming.

Should Disney succeed, it will obtain Fox's 39 per cent stake in Sky as part of the package. The opposition has not completely subsided despite the plan to spin off Sky News.

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