Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has renewed its attempts to purchase the largest pay-TV provider in the U.K., Sky, in a deal that would value Sky at around $23 billion.
21st Century Fox already owns around 40% of the company, and had attempted to purchase the remainder in 2011. That transaction was foiled, however, by revelations that two of Murdoch’s newspapers were hacking into the mobile phones of celebrities and politicians.
The new transaction for Sky would give 21st Century Fox, which owns brands including FX and National Geographic, complete ownership of one of Europe’s leading pay-TV providers. It also follows a number of other major transactions in the telecom and media space, most notably AT&T’s bid to acquire Time Warner for $84.5 billion.
Such transactions have raised concerns over the potential that both the media content TV viewers watch as well as the distribution pipe they watch it on will be owned by the same company. However, in a recent Senate hearing, AT&T argued that it would not withhold Time Warner content from its competitors if it is successful in purchasing the media giant.
A release from Sky said the companies have “reached agreement on an offer price of £10.75 [$13.52] per share in cash.” Sky added, though, that “certain material offer terms remain under discussion and there can be no certainty that an offer will be made by 21st Century Fox, nor as to the terms of any such offer.”
Sky said it is evaluating Fox’s proposal and that “discussions are continuing and a further announcement will be made in due course as appropriate.”
Sky currently counts 22 million customers, 30,000 employees and roughly $15 billion in annual revenues. The company has also made a substantial investment in creating original content for its various channels; it boasts of 22 Sky original dramas in production for 1,000 hours of original content.