21st Century Fox and Comcast set to learn Sky takeover fate

Comcast outbids 21st Century Fox for Sky

Comcast outbids 21st Century Fox for Sky

21st Century Fox, the film and television giant, and Comcast, the United States cable provider, have until late this afternoon to table their final and best bids.

Comcast's bid of £17.28 per Sky ordinary share values Sky at £30.4 billion ($39.7 billion, 33.8 billion euros). Fox, with Disney's approval, lodged a bid of £15.67 per share.

The outcome will end almost two years of uncertainty for Sky, which agreed to be acquired by 21st Century Fox in 2016. Deep-pocketed firms like Netflix and Amazon have eye-popping budgets and are pouring money into media production and streaming rights.

Had the bid been close, there was speculation that Sky might have recommended the Fox offer to shareholders.

"This acquisition will allow us to quickly, efficiently and meaningfully increase our customer base and expand internationally". It said it wanted to complete the deal by the end of October.

A spokesman for Fox, which has a 39 percent holding in Sky, declined to comment.

The dramatic fate of Sky is nearing its finale, as a £26bn head-to-head auction between two of the world's most powerful media companies enters into its final few hours.

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Comcast, which requires 50 percent plus one share of Sky's equity to win control, said it was also seeking to buy Sky shares in the market.

Another hedge-fund manager said it was a "huge" price, and shareholders would accept it. But that was not the case, and Sky's independent committee, which includes Darroch and other senior executives, has backed the Comcast offer.

Fox will now concede defeat, a source told Reuters.

The auction was a dramatic climax to a transatlantic bidding battle waged since February, when Comcast gate-crashed Fox's takeover of Sky.

Some politicians have opposed a deal, citing concerns about the influence Murdoch would wield over the UK's news agenda. "Sky is a wonderful company with a great platform, tremendous brand, and accomplished management team".

It is a blow to 87-year-old Murdoch and the USA media and entertainment group that he controls, which had been trying to take full ownership of Sky since December 2016.

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