20th Century Fox Executive Sues To Stop Fox-Disney Merger

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Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has kicked off a potential bidding war with USA entertainment giant Comcast after making a new offer for the 59pc of Sky it does not already own that values the UK-based broadcaster at £24.5bn.

Fox, which owns 39% of Sky and is due to gain British regulatory clearance for the deal this week, upped its offer to £14 ($18.60) a share, from its earlier £10.75 a share.

The new offer has the backing of Sky's independent committee of directors, which withdrew its support for Fox's previous bid after Comcast made its approach. Fox wants a deal at 14 pounds a share.

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While 21st Century Fox shareholders are poised to meet on July 27 to discuss the Walt Disney Co. The current bid by Fox has been stalled for months as first Britain's media regulator and then its competition watchdog reviewed the politically sensitive matter, examining whether Fox's ownership of Sky would concentrate too much power in Murdoch's hands and whether the Murdoch family would be "fit and proper" owners. Topping Comcast's 12.50 pounds a share.

Reuters is reporting that Comcast is doing it now so that Fox shareholders won't have antitrust concerns, plus increase their chances for uprooting Disney's bid. "The enhanced scale and capabilities of the combination will enrich Sky's ability to continue on its mission for years to come, especially at a time of dynamic change in our industry". 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.

Fox could face further competition from the United States cable giant Comcast, however, after it forced Sky's independent directors to drop their previous backing for Fox with an unexpected £12.50-a-share bid for the group in February. Of the assets he's seeking to acquire from Fox, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger called Sky "a real crown jewel". Disney has a $71 billion cash-and-stock offer to take over 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets.

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