UK clears Fox offer for Sky. A bidding war with Comcast could be next

Posted June 5, 2018 6:01 a.m. EDT
Updated June 5, 2018 9:59 a.m. EDT

— 21st Century Fox can proceed with its planned takeover bid for Sky, provided it sells the pay-TV broadcaster's news division, the UK government announced on Tuesday.

UK culture minister Matt Hancock said the deal can move forward if Sky News is sold to a suitable third party. Regulators had been concerned that ownership of Sky News would give Rupert Murdoch and his family too much influence over UK media.

Hancock also announced that a £22 billion ($29 billion) bid for Sky from Comcast would be allowed to proceed.

The next development could be a bidding war for a broadcaster that owns lucrative sports rights and movie channels.

Comcast has offered to pay £12.50 ($16.70) per share for Sky, topping Fox's bid of £10.75 ($14.40).

Investors are clearly hoping for more: Sky shares rose on Tuesday to trade at £13.60 ($18.20).

Sky is a leader in pay-TV services in the United Kingdom, and other regional markets including Germany and Italy. It sells broadband and mobile phone services.

Fox has previously offered to sell Sky News to get regulatory approval for the deal.