Murdoch’s Fox raises bid for Sky to $32.5 billion

Comcast

On Wednesday the battle for Sky escalated, with Comcast offering a £26bn deal less than a day after 21st Century Fox increased its offer to £24.5bn.

The regulatory boost comes less than 24 hours after Comcast upped its offer for Sky, hours after 21st Century boosted its own bid.

The company says this is 12% higher than the last bid from US -based Comcast.

To secure regulatory approval, Fox has agreed to sell Sky's award-winning news channel to Disney to prevent Murdoch from owning too much of the British media. Although the figure now looks to be untouchable, Comcast is expected to reply with its final offer that could climb as high as $90bn.

Another wrench has been thrown in the ongoing saga of the Disney Fox deal. Fox now owns 39 percent of the European company and has been angling to purchase the remaining 61 percent.

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

Comcast said its cash offer has been recommended by Sky's independent committee of directors and that it has committed the financing required for the deal.

"We welcome this increased offer", Martin Gilbert, deputy chairman of Sky, said in an emailed statement.

While 21st Century Fox shareholders are poised to meet on July 27 to discuss the Walt Disney Co.

"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. News Corp., which is controlled by the Murdochs, withdrew its bid for Sky soon after.

CNBC reports that Comcast is now focusing on buying the UK-pay TV provider Sky before it makes a decision on the remainder of the Fox for-sale assets, which includes the Marvel properties, Avatar, the FOX TV stations and more.

Fox already owns 39.14 percent of Sky, but this effort to get a stronger hold on its entertainment assets is an element of Disney's possible $71.3 billion Fox takeover.

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