United Kingdom clears 21st Century Fox to buy satellite pay-TV giant Sky

Comcast crashes Murdoch's Sky bid

Multinational mass media corporation 21st Century Fox on Wednesday said it has raised its offer to buy United Kingdom's Sky Plc.

The company says this is 12% higher than the last bid from USA -based Comcast. Murdoch has agreed to sell Fox's entertainment assets including its stake in Sky to Disney, though Comcast is weighing another counteroffer for the Fox portfolio.

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. Weiss also wants more information about debut and wants to know how a Goldman affiliate could be the underwriter, placement agent and bookrunner "in connection with Fox's possible incurrence of permanent debt financing".

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox increased Wednesday its bid to take full control of lucrative European pay TV service Sky in a prolonged battle with US rival Comcast.

Fox's bid for Sky is the most recent episode in Murdoch's long-running effort to take full control of the company.

The expectation from some analysts had been that Fox would wait for final United Kingdom approval before coming back with a higher bid, but with Prime Minister Theresa May's government committing to release a decision on Thursday, Fox pulled the trigger. On Monday Matt Hancock, who previously held the role, was made health secretary and replaced in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by Jeremy Wright.

Shares in Sky rose on Thursday morning after Comcast submitted a new and improved £26bn offer to acquire it.

'The speed with which Comcast has responded to Fox's bid speaks volumes about the determination of Comcast, led by Brian Roberts, to win the day, ' noted Ian Forrest, investment research analyst at The Share Centre.

"It's too low", Odey, a former son-in-law of Murdoch whose eponymous hedge fund is a Sky shareholder, said of the sweetened Fox offer. "This offer reflects the strong position the business is in and is an attractive premium for shareholders". 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.

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