Sky And Fox Deal: Rupert Murdoch confirms $14.6 billion Sky bid

By on December 17, 2016
Sky And Fox Deal: Rupert Murdoch confirms $14.6 billion Sky bid

Sky And Fox Deal: Rupert Murdoch confirms $14.6 billion Sky bid

21st Century Fox Reaches $14.8 Billion Deal for Remainder of Sky.

Sky TV has 22 million customers in Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria. Mr Murdoch’s News Corp sold its shares in Sky TV New Zealand in 2013.

The deal comes amid concerns that Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Sun and the Times newspapers, will have excessive influence over UK media.

Fox said it would pay £10.75 per share – or £11.7bn – for the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own.

It plans to buy the remaining stake through a scheme of arrangement, which means it needs the approval of investors holding 75 percent of the shares. The share price values the entire company at £18.5bn.

The agreement comes just over a week after Fox first approached Sky and follows several days of haggling which resulted in Fox lifting its offer three times to secure the backing of Sky’s independent directors, Reuters reports. The deal values all of the company at £18.5 billion pounds.

The deal is the latest one to join distribution with content after AT&T Inc announced an $US85 billion bid to buy Time Warner Inc earlier this year.

Phone hacking

In 2011, Rupert Murdoch abandoned a bid to take full control of Sky after his UK newspaper business became embroiled a phone-hacking scandal.

He has dominated Britain’s media and political landscape for decades, with former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and David Cameron securing the media mogul’s blessing and the backing of his papers. Critics say this has given him too much sway in Britain.

The re-emergence of the Sky deal shows he believes the reputational damage caused by the phone-hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid is behind them.

Since the scandal exploded in 2011, he has split his business into two parts, with Fox housing the TV assets and his newspapers owned by News Corp.

But critics will argue that despite the split, Mr Murdoch, 85, and his sons James and Lachlan still control both firms.

After winning the backing of Sky’s independent directors, Fox will need to secure regulatory approval in Europe and Britain.

James Murdoch, the chief executive of Fox and chairman of Sky, said he expected the deal to pass “regulatory muster” and, as long as regulators looked at the facts around media ownership, no “meaningful concessions” would be required.

Brexit bargain

People familiar with the matter told Reuters the US media corporation pounced after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June sent the pound down about 15 percent against the US dollar and Sky’s share price tumbling.

The new Sky offer has already sparked concern, with several politicians attending a debate in parliament this week to urge the government to properly scrutinise the deal.

The price of £10.75 pounds per share, representing a premium of around 40 percent on the day before the initial proposal was received, has also disappointed several top-50 shareholders who accused Sky of selling out too cheaply to their founder and biggest shareholder.

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