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Fox raises Sky bid in battle with Comcast

AFP  |  London 

Rupert Murdoch's today increased its takeover offer for Sky, valuing the pan-European TV group at 24.5 billion pounds and trumping Comcast's rival bid.

21st Century Fox's improved approach is for the 61 per cent of it does not own. New York-listed 21CF raised its offer to 14 pounds for each outstanding share, up substantially on a previous tilt that was pitched at 10.75 pounds.

Following the announcement, Sky's share price was down 1.4 per cent at 14.81 pounds, though above the improved offer with analysts betting on an extension to the bidding war.

"coming back in for isn't a surprise in itself, but the fact the offer is slightly behind what some had anticipated brings another twist," said George Salmon, at

"In fact, there's every chance it might entice another counter from That might explain why the shares still trade above the latest offer price." Fox's new bid values the whole of at 24.5 billion pounds (USD32.5 billion), beating an offer of 22 billion pounds from US for the group.

A statement issued today by said: "Today, 21CF and the are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on an increased... cash offer."

Fox's long-running pursuit for all of Sky has been plagued by fears over and broadcasting standards -- and the influence of Australian-born US citizen Murdoch.

Murdoch owns major British newspaper titles and and critics say obtaining full control also of the rolling channel would give him too much influence in the business.

To remedy this, Fox has proposed to sell to Disney as part of a full takeover.

In a further twist, is battling with for key assets of Should Disney succeed, it will obtain Fox's 39 percent stake in Sky as part of the package. Sky's jewel in the crown is its live coverage of football, while the group also provides internet and

Sky changed its name from after agreeing in 2014 to buy and a majority holding in

In 2011, Murdoch was forced to abandon a takeover bid for -- as controversy raged over the hacking of celebrities and crime victims by his tabloid the News of the World, which was subsequently shut down.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, July 11 2018. 16:45 IST
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