21st Century Fox Ups Offer For Sky In Bidding War With Comcast


21st Century Fox, a business unit that's currently up for sale itself, has upped the ante in its bidding battle with Comcast over which firm will own British media and TV provider Sky PLC.

Fox's entertainment arm raised its offer for Sky on Wednesday by more than 30 percent. The latest bid values Sky at $32.5 billion, besting Comcast's offer of $30.7 billion in an all-cash deal that the cable giant proposed in April.

But Comcast isn't going down without a fight, according to a report published by CNBC. The cable giant is reportedly putting together a counteroffer for Sky which could be announced within days.

[Related: Comcast CEO: As Company Bids On Pay-TV Provider Sky, The Focus Remains On 'Leading With Broadband']

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21st Century Fox said that Sky's independent directors have agreed to its latest offer. Fox already owns a 39 percent stake in Sky.

Comcast, for its part, is already the largest cable provider in the U.S. and owns NBCUniversal, a multinational media conglomerate that includes television networks, a motion picture company, TV production operations, and several theme parks.

"We have been impressed with the continued momentum of [Sky], and the ability to have a content distribution company that looks very similar to Comcast's NBC Universal," Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said of the proposed acquisition during the company's Q1 2018 earnings call in April.

21st Century Fox, Fox's entertainment business unit that includes valuable content assets, as well as part-ownership of streaming content service provider Hulu, is involved in another bidding war at the same time. Disney offered to acquire 21st century Fox in December 2017, and was then bested by none other than Comcast with an all-cash offer of $65 billion. Disney in June countered with a $71.3 billion offer for most of Fox's content assets in deal that is expected to be voted on by shareholders on July 27.

Disney in June secured approval for the proposed acquisition from the U.S. Justice Department.

Both bidding wars highlight the recent media merger trend that has telecom and cable providers trying to beef up their content portfolios in an effort to compete with digital and streaming content providers, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. AT&T in June closed its $85.4 billion acquisition of media giant Time Warner. Recent reports have also suggested that Basking Ridge, N.J.-based competitor Verizon is also interested in a tie-up with broadcast TV network CBS.