21st Century Fox is reportedly readying a new offer for Sky to fight off Comcast’s rival $29 billion bid, which is all happening during Comcast’s and Disney’s fight over Fox.
The Financial Times reports that Fox’s new bid for the chunk of Sky it doesn’t already own will be $33 billion (£25 billion). At this point, Comcast is in with a £12.50 a share and, according to the report, Fox’s new bid will be above £14.68 a share, which is where Sky closed on Monday.
Currently, Comcast’s $29 billion bid has been accepted by U.K. regulators without conditions. But Fox must promise to divest Sky News to assuage concerns over Fox controlling too much of the country’s news media. Fox has faced several months of regulatory scrutiny to obtain approval for its $24.7 billion bid for the 61% of Sky it doesn’t already own.
Tom Watson, a British Labour Party politician and opponent of Fox’s bid to buy Sky, told Variety that a bidding war could be a good thing for shareholders but that it is more important to protect Sky.
“Sky is a gem of British broadcasting, respected worldwide. Its future and global reputation for excellence is at stake in this process. So it is right that if there is any doubt about whether the proposed solution is workable, then it is the duty of the Secretary of State [Hancock] to ensure that this merger is blocked,” Watson told the publication.
As Fox and Comcast duke it out over Sky, Comcast could be readying a new bid for Fox’s entertainment assets. Disney currently has a $71.3 billion deal in place with Fox to acquire the company’s film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000 Pictures; Fox‘s television creative units Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Networks Group International; Star India; and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc and Tata Sky.
Both Comcast and Disney have indicated that they would divest Fox’s 22 regional sports networks in order to gain approval for their respective deals.