Even as 21st Century Fox shareholders prepare to look at Disney's latest bid, Comcast is getting ready to increase its offer. Rupert Murdoch's company is willing to pay £14 (Rs 1,254) per share - or £32.5 billion (Rs 2.96 lakh crore) - instead of £10.75 (Rs 978) per share for Sky. Comcast faces a deadline of Friday to put its offer to Sky shareholders.
Britain finally cleared Rupert Murdoch to buy Sky on Thursday, removing the final obstacle to a head-to-head battle between Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox and USA rival Comcast for the European pay-TV prize. Sky shares closed at 15.15 pounds. According to some shareholders, that has set an implied higher floor for Sky's shares. 'We have long admired Sky, which we believe is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast'.
"They're way behind the curve still", said Crispin Odey, founder of Odey Asset Management LLP, which owns shares of Sky.
"We are please to be announcing a recommended increased offer for Sky today", said Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast.
The battle takes place in the context of a broader struggle between Comcast and its rival Disney, which are both attempting to buy the bulk of Fox's assets, including its Sky stake.
The companies want Sky in order to amass programming and better compete with technology companies like Amazon and Netflix for viewers.
Murdoch's Fox said the performance of Sky since December 2016, including its renewal of the right to show English Premier League matches at a lower price than expected, justified its higher offer.
KitGuru Says: No matter who ends up getting their hands on Fox's assets, the loss of competition from such a large player in the market is sure to be felt across the entertainment industry.
The U.K. government, which has already said it's minded to approve Fox's bid for Sky after Fox satisfied concerns over media plurality, is due to deliver its final ruling on Thursday. News Corp., which is controlled by the Murdochs, withdrew its bid for Sky soon after. The opposition has not completely subsided despite the plan to spin off Sky News.