Murdoch's Fox increases Sky bid to £24.5bn in takeover battle

Murdoch's Fox increases Sky bid to £24.5bn in takeover battle

  • 11 July 2018
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Image copyright Sky

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has increased its offer for UK broadcaster Sky to £24.5bn.

This tops a previous offer from rival bidder Comcast and is part of an escalating battle between media giants, including Disney.

Fox is expecting to obtain regulatory approval in the UK for the deal this week.

The firm has been waiting for the go-ahead from the government before putting the deal to shareholders.

Murdoch concerns

Fox has been trying to get approval from UK regulators since 2016 to buy the 61% of Sky it does not own already.

The bid was held up by fears that it could give Mr Murdoch too much power over UK media.

Fox has been trying to address those concerns by offering concessions, including selling Sky News to Disney once the deal is complete.

In June, the then Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock, said the Fox deal could go ahead if it sold Sky News, with certain conditions.

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At the time, Mr Hancock said he needed to be confident that the deal ensured the long-term financial viability of the channel.

Sky News would need to continue to be a major UK-based news broadcaster. It would also need to be able to make editorial decisions independent from the control of the Murdochs.

Comcast, the US media giant that owns NBC and Universal Pictures, made a £22bn offer for Sky in February, trumping a previous offer from Fox that valued Sky at £18.5bn.

Mr Hancock said in June that there would be no public interest concerns with a Comcast takeover of Sky.

The government is expected to give its decision on Fox's Sky bid on Friday.

If the Department of Culture, Media and Sport gives regulatory go-ahead for the bid, as is expected, then Fox has 28 days to notify shareholders that they need to vote on the deal.

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