Murdoch's Fox ups Sky bid to $32.5 billion, all eyes on Comcast


The U.S. cable group gatecrashed Murdoch's attempt to buy the 61 percent of Sky his group did not already own in February, when Fox was still firmly stuck in the regulatory process.

Sky's independent committee said Wednesday Fox's new bid "represents a substantial increase in value relative to the Comcast offer", and it will "unanimously recommend" the offer to Sky shareholders, according to the Financial Times. Now that the Disney deal is looking more and more certain, focusing on Sky - and winning that deal - would give them a better reach into Europe as well as blocking Disney from total control of that company.

Sky's shares have risen 95 percent since Fox made its first bid in 2016, and have risen 55 percent in the a year ago. Fox now owns 39 percent of the European company and has been angling to purchase the remaining 61 percent.

Indeed, there is speculation that, should Disney prevail in the fight for Fox, Comcast would redouble its efforts to nab Sky, which would add a valuable worldwide component and new revenue stream to the US cable giant's portfolio. It's also thought that, despite welcoming a new counteroffer from Comcast, Rupert Murdoch is in favor of Disney over Comcast due to antitrust concerns, even after the successful AT&T and Time Warner merger.

Fox's long-coveted acquisition of Sky remains subject to the approval of the newly-installed UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Wright.

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Chaplin and other analysts on Wall Street are hoping that Fox, Comcast, and Disney can find a way to back off a full-out bidding war over all parts of Murdoch's entertainment empire, with Comcast taking the Sky business for the $34 billion and Disney taking the rest of the Fox entertainment assets for $71 billion.

KitGuru Says: No matter who ends up getting their hands on Fox's assets, the loss of competition from such a large player in the market is sure to be felt across the entertainment industry.

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

Sky now operates in Britain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Of the assets he's seeking to acquire from Fox, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger called Sky "a real crown jewel".