Murdoch's Fox acquires Sky Network for $14.6B

21st Century Fox Makes Formal Offer for Sky
Twenty-First Century Fox announces firm offer for broadcaster Sky plc
Author

17 December, 2016

Fox said it would pay 10.75 pounds per share - or 11.7 billion pounds - for the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own to control a business with 22 million customers in Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria.

The price of £10.75 pounds per share, representing a premium of around 40 percent on the day before the initial proposal was received, has also disappointed several top-50 shareholders who accused Sky of selling out too cheaply to their founder and biggest shareholder.

"It would have been preferable to have an independent chairman", Piers Hillier, chief investment officer at Royal London, a Sky shareholder, said in a December 12 statement.

Sky broadcasts the 24-hour Sky News channel, blockbuster movies and live English Premier League football, and also provides Internet and telephone services.

CEO James Murdoch at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in NY last week highlighted the need to ensure a good customer experience.

James Murdoch, Sky's chairman, is not on the committee because he is chief executive of 21st Century Fox.

In a stock exchange statement, announcing the deal, 21st Century Fox said: "The strategic rationale for this combination is clear".

In 2011, the Australian-born media mogul was forced to abandon his previous takeover bid of Sky, which was known as BSkyB at the time, amid a fierce controversy over the hacking of celebrities and crime victims by his tabloid the News of the World.

Twin Cities lags behind home price recovery
He said other housing indicators such as sales of new and existing homes are performing at the best levels since the recession. In fact single family home prices in Chicago are still 18.2% below our peak and condos are 13.4% below their peak value.

This week, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested the Fox-Sky deal be delayed. One was a tender offer, the other a so-called scheme of arrangement, which requires a lower percentage of shareholder approval, but was seen as trickier to pull off because Fox's stake would be excluded from the shareholder vote on the deal.

Given the outcry over the last bid, it seems likely she will do that but the media landscape has changed a great deal since the last takeover attempt.

Now, Britain's secretary of state for culture and media, Karen Bradley, must determine whether to recommend an in-depth review into whether the proposed consolidation of Sky would give the Murdoch family too much control over media in Britain.

Since then, Fox and the Murdoch newspaper business, rebranded as News UK, have been formally split.

Sources told the financial newswire that Fox "pounced" after June's Brexit vote caused the pound to fall against the dollar, enabling a cheaper buyout by the U.S. company.

The combination will face scrutiny by European competition watchdogs and could also be referred to British authorities to examine its impact on media plurality.

The agreement is for pound sterling10.75 per Sky share, above Thursday's closing price of pound sterling9.88 after a rise of 0.5 percent.


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