21st Century Fox Ups Sky Bid To $32.5B, Topping Rival Comcast

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Comcast tabled a proposal of 12.50 pounds per share for Sky in February, and Sky's stock has traded consistently above the Comcast offer as investors anticipated Fox or Disney would come back with more. Comcast offered $65 billion and is getting ready for yet another bid for Fox.

Murdoch's company still faces significant regulatory battles in Britain, including the culture secretary's statement that Fox would have to divest itself of Sky News to win government approval because of concerns about media plurality.

Comcast believes finding such partners will not only allow it to argue that it can win antitrust approval for the Fox assets as easily as Disney, but will also boost its finances as its prepares to make a second all-cash offer later this month, the sources said. His new offer made on Wednesday, at £14.00 a share, once again won over Sky's independent directors who recommended the new £24.5bn deal.

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Announcing its new offer on Wednesday, Fox said: "As the founding shareholder in Sky, we have remained deeply committed to bringing these two organisations together to create a world class business positioned to deliver the very best entertainment experiences well into the future".

RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Cahall issued a report today noting that, with the bid for Sky, Comcast may be choosing sides as the cable giant simply can't afford both acquisitions. We strongly believe that a combined 21CF and Sky will be a powerful driver for the continued growth and vibrancy of the United Kingdom and broader global creative industries.

Tom Watson, a British Labour Party politician and opponent of Fox's bid to buy Sky, told Variety that a bidding war could be a good thing for shareholders but that it is more important to protect Sky.

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Sky, based in the United Kingdom, has more than 20 million subscribers in several European countries, in addition to a content arm that includes Sky News.

Rupert Murdoch's company further added that Disney has provided its consent to the increased debt that would be incurred by 21CF as a result of the increased Sky offer.

In June, Disney raised its offer for the assets to $71.3bn (£54bn) in cash and shares.

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