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Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox raises offer for Britain’s Sky Plc in an attempt to outbid Comcast

Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky, said the British firm has approved its proposed £32.5-billion offer.

Multinational mass media corporation 21st Century Fox on Wednesday said it has raised its offer to buy United Kingdom’s Sky Plc. Rupert Murdoch’s company is willing to pay £14 (Rs 1,254) per share – or £32.5 billion (Rs 2.96 lakh crore) – instead of £10.75 (Rs 978) per share for Sky.

Fox made the new offer in an attempt to outbid its rival Comcast, which has offered Sky £12.5 (Rs. 1,139) per share, CNBC reported. Fox, which already owns 39% of Sky, on Wednesday said the independent committee the British company had formed for the sale has approved its offer.

The battle between Fox and Comcast to acquire Sky has been going on for the last 18 months. The Walt Disney Company has agreed to a $71 billion (Rs 4.88 lakh crore) takeover of Fox’s entertainment assets, and will own all of Sky if Fox secures the deal.

In December, Fox struck an all-stock deal with Disney worth $52.4 billion (Rs 3.36 lakh crore) shortly after rebuffing Comcast’s offer that was worth roughly $60 billion (Rs 4.13 lakh crore), all in stock. Two months later, Comcast submitted a £22.1-billion (approximately Rs 2 lakh crore) bid to buy Sky, challenging an existing offer from Rupert Murdoch’s company.

Comcast then launched a hostile $65 billion (Rs 4.46 lakh core) bid for Fox, which the Murdoch-owned company said it would “carefully review”.

Paolo Pescatore, an independent telecom and media analyst, told CNBC on Wednesday that Fox’s new offer shows the strategic importance of the firm to both Murdoch’s company and Comcast. “There is no way that Disney, nor 21st Century Fox want to let Sky go to Comcast,” he said. “Therefore expect another round of counter bids. The price is heading in one direction. It is a great time to be a Sky shareholder.”

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