Date
17 December 2017
Rupert Murdoch is realizing his ambition of taking full control of European pay-TV giant Sky. Photo: Bloomberg
Rupert Murdoch is realizing his ambition of taking full control of European pay-TV giant Sky. Photo: Bloomberg

Murdoch to gain full control of Sky with US$14.6 bln deal

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. has entered into a US$14.6 billion deal to buy the rest of European pay-TV firm Sky that it doesn’t already own.

Under the deal that will help unite a media empire across two continents, Fox will pay 10.75 pounds per share for the 61 percent of Sky that is currently owned by others, Reuters reports.

The agreement will help Fox gain control of a pay-TV giant that has 22 million customers in Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria.

The deal comes after several days of haggling in London which resulted in Fox lifting its offer three times to secure the backing of Sky’s independent directors, sources told Reuters.

Fox seized an opportunity after the Brexit vote in June sent the British pound down about 15 percent against the US dollar and led to a slide in Sky’s share price.

The Murdoch family has long wanted to take full control of Sky, despite failing in a previous attempt five years ago when the group’s UK newspaper business became embroiled in a phone-hacking scandal.

After winning the backing of Sky’s independent directors, Fox will need to secure regulatory approval in Europe and Britain and win over those Sky shareholders who believe the price is too low.

Four top-50 shareholders told Reuters on Thursday that, while they thought the bid was still on the low side, they were being pragmatic due to Fox’s ownership of 39 percent and will accept the offer.

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RC

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