Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

Comcast lining up buyers for Fox sports assets

Comcast lining up buyers for Fox sports assets

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 USA rival Comcast.

Fox unveiled its new bid Wednesday morning London time just as Comcast is preparing to formalize its own $31 billion offer for Sky, probably to be sent to Sky shareholders later this week.

Following the announcement, Sky's share price was down 1.3 per cent at 14.81, though above the improved offer.

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But Disney and Fox are determined to keep their deal together - Murdoch has favored Disney in negotiations over the sale of 21st Century Fox assets, including Fox's stake in Sky, to Disney. Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has raised its offer for Britain's Sky.

"Comcast has long admired Sky and believes it is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast", Comcast said in a statement.

The U.K. government has already said it's likely to approve Fox's bid for Sky after Fox satisfied concerns over media plurality. "The enhanced scale and capabilities of the combination will enrich Sky's ability to continue on its mission for years to come, especially at a time of dynamic change in our industry".

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A Fox shareholder has filed a lawsuit over Disney's pending acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox's assets, alleging that shareholders have been given misleading or incomplete information before their vote on July 27, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Sky has 23 million customers in five European countries and also boasts a market-leading platform, its Q box, and a suite of premium TV content to lure and retain subscribers, including rights to Premier League soccer. Of the assets he's seeking to acquire from Fox, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger called Sky "a real crown jewel".

If Fox buys the remaining stake in Sky prior to closing the Disney deal, Disney would take full-ownership of the British company upon completion of the larger transaction.

Fox made the new offer in an attempt to outbid its rival Comcast, which has offered Sky £12.5 (Rs. 1,139) per share, CNBC reported.

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