21st Century Fox said it raised its bid for the Sky shares it does not already own by 30% to 14 British pounds sterling per share cash, up from its original offer of 10.75 GBP and above a competing 12.50 GBP bid from Comcast.
The new Fox offer is worth $32 billion. Sky would later be acquired by Disney, which has agreed to pay $71 billion for certain 21st Century Fox assets. Fox said Disney has agreed to the higher Sky offer.
Comcast is also trying to outbid Disney for the Fox assets, which include its entertainment cable networks in the U.S. and its TV and movie studio businesses.
Disney, led by CEO Bob Iger and Comcast, run by Brian Roberts, are competing for the Fox assets in order to compete in an evolving media industry where scale is going to be required to build direct-to-consumer businesses that can’t compete with digital challengers like Netflix, Amazon, Google and Facebook.
Fox said the independent committee of Sky’s directors agreed to accept the new bid and recommend it to shareholders, but Fox’s acquisition still much pass muster with the U.K. secretary of state.
The British government’s review of whether 21st Century Fox, headed by Rupert Murdoch, is a fit owner for Sky has dragged on. The Secretary of State has said it intends to announce a final decision by July 12.
The Sky board recommends Sky shareholders take no action on the Comcast offer.
Fox already owns 39% of Sky.
"As the founding shareholder of Sky, we have remained deeply committed to bringing these two organizations together to create a world-class business positioned to deliver the very best entertainment experiences well into the future,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement.
"We strongly believe that a combined 21st Century Fox and Sky will be a powerful driver for the continued growth and vibrancy of the UK and broader global creative industries. The enhanced scale and capabilities of the combination will enrich Sky's ability to continue on its mission for years to come, especially at a time of dynamic change in our industry. This transformative transaction will position Sky so that it can continue to compete within an environment that now includes some of the largest companies in the world, but none of whom have demonstrated the same local depth of investment and commitment to the UK and to Europe,” Fox said.
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