Published: Fri, April 20, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Sky delivers strong quarter ahead of expected Fox-Comcast bidding war

Sky delivers strong quarter ahead of expected Fox-Comcast bidding war

In a deep play-by-play look into the Disney-Fox merger's history, Variety pored over Disney's 455-page regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to uncover a few interesting nuggets - revealing, in the process, that Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger and 21st Century Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch ironed out the final few broad strokes while Iger was in London for The Last Jedi's red carpet release.

In December, Fox agreed to sell its entertainment networks, movie studios and television production and global assets, as well as its stake in Hulu, to Disney for $52.4 billion, rejecting what had previously been an unspecified overture from Comcast.

According to a regulatory filing, Disney's all-stock deal with Fox valued the company's assets at $29.54 a share while Comcast's all-stock deal was valued at $34.41 per share. The subject of a break penalty was raised multiple times in discussions between the two sides, according to the filing. The US government has sued to block that deal. Meanwhile, Disney offered to compensate Fox up to $2.5 billion if regulators halted the proposed merger. Verizon was described in the filing as Party A, the report said.

The filing states that Fox's management "remained concerned" that Comcast's proposal "created a potential to diminish the acquisition premium" due to Fox shareholders.

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Pay-TV group Sky, which is at the center of a takeover battle pitting Fox, Comcast and Disney against one another, reported a strong fiscal third quarter Thursday, underlining its appeal to rival entertainment groups in the US wanting to gain a foothold in Europe.

But Comcast has not given up on getting some of the Fox assets. 21st Century Fox already owns 39 per cent of the pay-TV broadcaster but is...

But if Fox receives clearance it is unlikely to end up as the long-term owner of Sky.

After losing its battle, Comcast announced that it was considering making another offer to buy Sky, valuing it at $31 billion and exceeding the offer Fox agreed to.

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