The battle for British satellite giant Sky just got hotter as 21 Century Fox upped its bid for the company to $32.5 billion, besting a rival offer for the company from Comcast and clearly putting the ball in the cable operator’s court.
Fox was widely expected to increase its offer for Sky after Comcast made a $31 billion unsolicited bid for the company in April. In making its latest offer, Fox said the all-cash deal values Sky at £14 per share (about $18.57 per share) and bests Comcast’s £12.50 per share bid by 12%.
In a statement, Fox said the offer represents an 82.1% premium to Sky’s closing price on Dec. 6, 2016, when it made its original offer to purchase the 61% of Sky it didn’t already own. The deal is conditioned on a positive ruling on the purchase from the U.K. Secretary of State, who has said he will make a decision on the deal on July 12.
Fox was widely expected to make the higher offer.
Sky is expected to be part of a separate deal between Fox and The Walt Disney Co., for certain programming assets. Disney has already agreed to purchase Sky News – which had been a sticking point with regulators – and will assume control of the satellite company once its larger deal is closed.
“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,” Fox said in a statement. “We strongly believe that a combined 21CF 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.”