Comcast fires new salvo in £26bn battle for Sky


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

Comcast's bid has already been cleared, and Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said Fox can go ahead if it sells Sky News. "Today's announcement further underscores Comcast's belief and its commitment to owning Sky", Comcast said in a statement.

Comcast's initial offer was considerably higher than the Fox bid that valued the satellite broadcaster at £18.5bn.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has kicked off a potential bidding war with U.S. entertainment giant Comcast after making a new offer for the 59pc of Sky it does not already own that values the UK-based broadcaster at £24.5bn. Sky shares closed at 15.15 pounds.

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Sky has been thrust into the centre of a global tussle between media giants Disney and Comcast as they lead a fightback against the might of Amazon and Netflix.

"Investors are now close to doubling their money as a result of the bidding war for Sky, and there may yet be another twist in this tale which will swell their coffers even more", Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said.

Janedis laid out four possible scenarios: Comcast outbids Fox for Sky; Fox outbids Comcast and adheres to all conditions; Disney and Fox walk away and sell Comcast the remaining 40% stake in Sky; and Disney wins both Fox and Sky.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, an executive for 20th Century Fox has filed a lawsuit to put a stop to the sale of 21st Century Fox's studio assets to Disney, which he claims violates securities rules.

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One hedge fund manager with a stake in Sky welcomed that pledge as a sign that Disney backed Fox in the battle.

Fox originally bid £10.75 in December 2016, but its bid was trumped in February by Comcast, which bid £12.50.

KitGuru Says: No matter who ends up getting their hands on Fox's assets, the loss of competition from such a large player in the market is sure to be felt across the entertainment industry.

The UK government has already said it's likely to approve Fox's bid for Sky after Fox satisfied concerns over media plurality. News Corp., which is controlled by the Murdochs, withdrew its bid for Sky soon after.

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