21st Century Fox Wins Key Approval In Britain For Sky Deal

The Comcast NBC logo is shown on a building in Los Angeles California

The Comcast NBC logo is shown on a building in Los Angeles California

Despite the clearance, satellite pay-TV group Sky could still end up being bought by Comcast or Disney amid a U.S. media industry tug-of-war. That compares with a 14 pound-a-share proposal from Fox. "Or will they crush Comcast on both continents?"

What could be on the mind of each player?

FILE PHOTO: A screen shows the logo and a ticker symbol for The Walt Disney Company on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 14, 2017. Ives says the average Netflix user spends 10 hours a week watching its content, with five hours per week going each to Hulu and Amazon.

Long-term goals: Iger wants the Fox assets even if Murdoch fails to clinch all of Sky, yet Sky is still part of the prize.

The Sky logo is seen at the company's United Kingdom headquarters in west London July 25, 2014. Fox recently accepted Disney's $71 billion offer.

"It is now a matter for the Sky shareholders to decide whether to accept 21CF's bid", Britain's Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said in a statement. If there is still deadlock after 46 days, the United Kingdom authority can step in and announce a formal auction. Fox released a terse statement late on Wednesday saying it noted Comcast's offer. Comcast said the offer values Sky on a price to earnings multiple of 22.9 times 2017 earnings.

For now, investors are waiting to see what Mr. Murdoch will do next. At the beginning of the week, shares in Sky were valued at £14.58 and have closed four days later at £15.45.

The British broadcaster has been the subject of a fierce bidding war between Fox and United States cable company Comcast.

The Comcast CEO has the winning bid so far for Sky, and the United Kingdom government has approved the purchase.

Comcast expects to pay its advisers between 203 million pounds and 243 million pounds in total for their work on the Sky bid, the USA group estimated in its formal offer document for the British company on Friday. Fox is yet to publish its offer document. Its bid would let it acquire the remaining 61 per cent of the company, and that business would eventually go to Disney - assuming that transaction also is completed. Fox acknowledged the increased bid.

Long-term goals: Delrahim wants to unwind the AT&T deal and that stance could keep Comcast from counterbidding for Fox. But the process may take months.

Disney, Comcast and Fox each own a 30% interest in Hulu, with Time Warner owning, 10%. According to some shareholders, that has set an implied higher floor for Sky's shares.

Long-term goals: The panel aims to treat all shareholders fairly in takeover scenarios.

Big names like Apple and Microsoft, and chipmakers, including Intel, all made big gains as investors remain optimistic about the technology sector even though much of the market has been shaken by escalating tensions between the US and its trading partners, especially China.

However, British regulators have indicated that if Disney succeeds in buying Fox, including the 39 percent stake in Sky, it would be required to offer the same price for the remainder of Sky. At this point I would be amazed if Fox didn't go to Disney, and that of course means good news for Marvel fans looking to see X-Men and Fantastic Four return home to Marvel Studios.

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