Fox kicks off Comcast bidding war with £24.5bn Sky bid

Comcast

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox says it has agreed to buy Britain's Sky in a deal valuing the pay-TV group at $32.5 billion, trumping a rival offer from the U.S. group Comcast.

21st Century Fox is reportedly readying a new offer for Sky to fight off Comcast's rival $29 billion bid, which is all happening during Comcast's and Disney's fight over Fox.

Fox upped its offer for Sky by 30% on Wednesday, ahead of the deal getting the green light in the United Kingdom, which prompted Comcast to counter hours later with a richer $34 billion bid. Fox has faced several months of regulatory scrutiny to obtain approval for its $24.7 billion bid for the 61% of Sky it doesn't already own.

The battle for Sky is raging while a separate tussle for Fox's entertainment assets simmers on between Comcast and Disney.

That topped Comcast's previous £22bn offer and is part of an escalating war between media giants including Disney.

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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. 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. Murdoch has a deal to sell Fox's entertainment assets including its Sky stake to Disney, though Comcast is weighing another bid for the Fox portfolio. Of the assets he's seeking to acquire from Fox, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger called Sky "a real crown jewel".

Fox will be hoping to see off competition from Comcast after a long battle to buy the remaining stake in Sky, having faced heavy scrutiny from the Government and the competition watchdog.

Both Comcast and Disney have indicated that they would divest Fox's 22 regional sports networks in order to gain approval for their respective deals.

Fox said the performance of Sky since 2016 justified its new bid. Disney said in June it is offering more than $71 billion for Fox's entertainment businesses in a counterbid to Comcast's almost $66 billion offer.

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