Fox Shareholder Sues to Stop Disney Merger

Fox Shareholder Sues to Stop Disney Merger

Comcast last night raised its offer for pay-TV giant Sky in a deal valuing it at $34bn (£25.74bn), topping an already improved bid of $32.5bn from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox earlier in the day.

The American pay-TV group gatecrashed Murdoch's attempt to buy the 61 per cent of Sky his group did not already own in February, when Fox was firmly stuck in the regulatory process.

In a statement Comcast, a $155 billion United States cable television giant, said that its latest offer represented a premium of approximately 5.4 per cent to the 21st Century Fox offer, "implying a value of approximately..." Comcast said on Wednesday that Sky's independent board committee supports its offer that it plans to mail to Sky shareholders within days. Those assets include the Fox's Hollywood studios, content library, cable channels, worldwide networks, and a 39-percent stake in Sky.

Comcast has said that Sky is very important because it could take the USA -bound cable and internet giant into global markets.

Of course, there's still time for Comcast to make yet another counteroffer, forcing Disney to increase its bid once more.

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The offer values Sky plc, the owner of Sky News, at £26bn.

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".

The British government is expected to finally allow Fox, which is run by Rupert's son James, to buy Sky this week, after the USA group agreed to sell Sky's award-winning news channel to Disney to prevent Murdoch from owning too much of the British media. Analysts said it was not a knock-out, and Fox did not say it was its final offer.

"We welcome this increased offer", Martin Gilbert, deputy chairman of Sky, said in an emailed statement. Sky has 23 million customers in five European countries and also boasts a market-leading platform, its Q box, and a suite of premium TV content to lure and retain subscribers, including rights to Premier League soccer.

Another wrench has been thrown in the ongoing saga of the Disney Fox deal.

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