Comcast fires new salvo in £26bn battle for Sky

The offer is likely to be followed up by another from Comcast a rival bidder for Sky which screens hit shows such as Westworld

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox increased Wednesday its bid to take full control of lucrative European pay TV service Sky in a prolonged battle with US rival Comcast.

Announcing its new offer on Wednesday, Fox said: "As the founding shareholder in Sky, we have remained deeply committed to bringing these two organisations together to create a world class business positioned to deliver the very best entertainment experiences well into the future".

Britain's former Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, who was replaced on Monday night with Jeremy Wright in a cabinet shakeup, had said he was willing to let the takeover go ahead, provided Fox sold Sky's 24-hour news channel to Disney.

The end of the week is also be the deadline for Comcast to post an offer to Sky shareholders, who then have 60 days to consider that offer under United Kingdom takeover rules.

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Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast, said: "We have long admired Sky, which we believe is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast".

The offer follows 21CF and Disney amended merger agreement on June 20, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, and is expected to complete within six to 12 months after June 20, 2018.

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.

Sky's independent directors accepted the latest Fox offer.

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Should Disney succeed, it will obtain Fox's 39 per cent stake in Sky as part of the package.

"American consumers have benefitted from head-to-head competition between Disney and Fox's cable sports programming that ultimately has prevented cable television subscription prices from rising even higher", said Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general and head of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division.

What's Next For the Disney-Fox Deal? News Corp., which is controlled by the Murdochs, withdrew its bid for Sky soon after.

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