Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox bids $14.1 billion for UK’s Sky

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Updated: December 9, 2016 11:46:24 PM

Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc has made a $14.1 billion bid for the remaining shares of European pay-TV group Sky Plc that the U.S. company does not already own, the British broadcaster said on Friday.

Fox Chief Executive James Murdoch was named chairman of Sky this year, fueling speculation that the U.S. media company would make a bid. (Reuters)Fox Chief Executive James Murdoch was named chairman of Sky this year, fueling speculation that the U.S. media company would make a bid. (Reuters)

Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox Inc has made a $14.1 billion bid for the remaining shares of European pay-TV group Sky Plc that the U.S. company does not already own, the British broadcaster said on Friday. Fox is Sky’s largest shareholder, with a 39.1 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters data. By owning all of Sky, Fox, whose cable networks include Fox News and FX, the New York-based media company would have control of a distribution platform in Europe.

Marrying distribution with content is becoming increasingly important in the competitive media landscape. Earlier this year, AT&T announced an $85.4 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Inc .

Sky’s shares rose 26.7 percent to over 10 pounds in London, while Fox’s shares were down 1.9 percent at $28.08 shortly after midday on Nasdaq.

Fox’s cash offer of 10.75 pounds per share is a 36.2 percent premium to Sky’s Thursday close, and values the company at about 18.48 billion pounds ($23.23 billion).

According to Reuters calculations, Fox will pay 11.25 billion pounds for the stake in Sky that it does not already own.

Fox Chief Executive James Murdoch was named chairman of Sky this year, fueling speculation that the U.S. media company would make a bid.

Murdoch said in 2015 that for Fox, having 40 percent of an unconsolidated asset was not “an end state that is natural for us” but it had no immediate plans to buy the rest of the company.

Sky, which has formed an independent committee to consider terms of the proposal, said discussions were ongoing.

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