21st Century Fox (FOX) has increased its bid for Sky plc (SKY) to $32.5 billion. Fox’s price is at a 12% premium to Comcast’s (CMCSA) previous offer. This new offer just changed the game and all eyes are on Comcast to see if the media company will respond with a higher bid of its own or will bow out and walk away.
Although Comcast has not commented on the matter, shareholders believe there will be more bids that could take the end price well ahead of Sky’s current stock price. The final purchase price would depend on how far a company would go before its shareholders decide to drop the pursuit. Depending on how valuable or strategically beneficial an asset is, companies can end up paying hefty sums.
In another tussle, Comcast and Walt Disney (DIS) are looking to buy Fox and a stake in Sky will come with it. Disney has already secured regulatory approval for this deal and it is likely that Comcast would want to at least get hold of Sky. This is not surprising because with its broad presence in Europe, Sky is a valuable asset and its shareholders believe it can fetch a higher price than what has been offered by Fox right now.
Meanwhile, a Fox shareholder has filed a lawsuit against the Fox-Disney transaction asking for more financial information before important decisions can be made.
Streaming service providers like Netflix (NFLX) are turning out to be forces to reckon with and top media and telecom companies are trying hard to stay competent. Buying lucrative assets and striking strategic deals are part of these efforts. Elsewhere AT&T (T) is pushing for hard changes at its HBO network to increase engagement and better compete with Netflix.
Some analysts also believe that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if Comcast did not acquire either company, considering the financial burden that would come with it. The twists in this story keep coming and Wall Street can expect some more interesting turns before a final decision is made.