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12 July 2018, 12:56 | Joann Bryant
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That is how Sky shareholders feel as Murdoch controlled 21st Century Fox raised the bidding once again for Sky, eclipsing U.S. cable network Comcast's £12.50 bid with an all cash offer of £14.
The clock was ticking on Fox to make a higher bid for Sky, because Comcast faces a deadline of Friday to formally deliver its offer to shareholders of the London-based company, under United Kingdom takeover rules.
Comcast said its cash offer has been recommended by Sky's independent committee of directors and that it has committed the financing required for the deal. Wright's predecessor had previously indicated the deal could go through if Sky was ultimately sold to a third party, like Disney.
The agreed price represents an 82 percent premium to Sky's shares in December 2016, before it struck its original deal to buy Sky, and a multiple of 21 times 2017 earnings per share.
Should Disney succeed, it will obtain Fox's 39 per cent stake in Sky as part of the package. Sky's shares closed at 15.01 pounds on Tuesday, implying shareholders think the battle is not yet over.
Murdoch's company still faces significant regulatory battles in Britain, including the culture secretary's statement that Fox would have to sell Sky News to win government approval because of concerns about media plurality.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Cahall issued a report today noting that, with the bid for Sky, Comcast may be choosing sides as the cable giant simply can't afford both acquisitions. This values the European pay-TV group at $32.5B, trumping Comcast's earlier $31B (£12.50 per share) offer.
Murdoch owns major British newspaper titles The Times and The Sun and critics say obtaining full control also of the rolling television channel Sky News would give him too much influence in the news business.
Sky operates in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Italy as well as the U.K. It has 22.5 million customers, attracted by offerings such as English Premier League soccer and "Game of Thrones". Of the assets he's seeking to acquire from Fox, Disney chief executive officer Bob Iger called Sky "a real crown jewel".
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