Published: Sun, December 11, 2016
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox bids $14.1 bln for UK's Sky

Rupert Murdoch may get all of European broadcaster Sky after all after the United Kingdom phone-hacking scandal scotched a previous effort.

At present Fox holds a 39% stake in Sky and four years ago News Corp - the name for Murdoch's empire before it split and 21st Century Fox formed - attempted an acquisition of Sky but was thwarted by political opposition amid the phone hacking scandal.

The proposed offer is worth £10.75 a share in cash, a premium of 36% to the closing price on 8 December.

According to Reuters calucations, Fox will pay 11.25 billion pounds for what it doesn't already own of Sky.

Mr Gunn said the independent committee should fight for a higher price in part because shareholders backed to pay £7bn for Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland.

Murdoch's News Corporation attempted to takeover Sky in 2010.

Before Friday's surge, Sky's shares had dropped 30 percent this year in part due to concerns of an United Kingdom economic slowdown caused by Brexit.

Britain's takeover watchdog has set Fox a deadline of January 6 to make a firm bid or walk away.

Alex DeGroote, analyst at Peel Hunt, said it was "not quite a done deal", but he would be surprised if it did not go ahead. "Sky has not performed well in the United Kingdom stock market this year, and is seen as a Brexit loser", he told the BBC.

The deal values London-listed Sky at £18.5 billion ($23.4 billion, 21.8 billion euros), but it stressed there was no certainty of a firm offer. His sons James and Lachlan are chief executive and executive chairman of the company.

Rupert Murdoch has sought to take full control of Sky for many years.

By owning all of Sky, Fox, whose cable networks include Fox News and FX, the New York-based media company would have control of a distribution platform in Europe.

Murdoch had previously tried to take full control of Sky but was sidelined in 2011 amid a phone-hacking scandal at his British newspapers that rocked the United Kingdom political and media establishment.

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said it was up to regulators to ensure competition concerns were addressed.

The media giant argued it was seeking to create a global business that benefits from 21st Century Fox content and Sky's pay-TV capabilities. He had been CEO of Sky, then known as BSkyB, from 2003 to 2007 and chairman from 2007 to 2012.

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