Murdoch's Fox beats Comcast with agreed $32.5 billion bid for Sky

Comcast

Fox's bid to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own had been held up by regulators amid concerns the USA company would have too much influence over the United Kingdom media landscape.

Jeff Wlodarczak at Pivotal Research Group said Comcast may succeed in winning Sky but lose out on Fox to Disney. 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.

Shares in Sky (SKYB.L) jumped higher on Thursday after Comcast (CMCSA.O) submitted a $34 billion (25.74 billion pounds) bid for the group just hours after Rupert Murdoch raised his offer, escalating a trans-Atlantic bidding war for the European pan-TV group. Sky shares closed at 15.15 pounds.

Comcast has said that Sky is very important because it could take the USA -bound cable and internet giant into global markets.

The battle for Britain's leading pay-TV group reflects major shifts in the global entertainment industry as the world's biggest media giants battle one another for multibillion-dollar deals to be able to compete with Netflix and Amazon. Is this the deal that inspires more or scares off others?

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The battle takes place in the context of a broader struggle between Comcast and its rival Disney, which are both attempting to buy the bulk of Fox's assets, including its Sky stake.

"It's too low", Odey, a former son-in-law of Murdoch whose eponymous hedge fund is a Sky shareholder, said of the sweetened Fox offer.

The bidding for Sky and the broader protracted fight over ownership of Murdoch's entertainment assets between Comcast and the Walt Disney Co. seems no closer to a conclusion even after Wednesday actions, which were surprising only in that both Comcast and Fox seemed eager to get the fight on.

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. Analysts said it was not a knock-out, and Fox did not say it was its final offer.

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