The British government has approved Fox’s (latest) offer to buy U.K. media giant Sky.
Fox touted the following on Thursday morning, following the regulatory hurdle’s clearing:
21st Century Fox (“21CF”) notes today’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (the “UK Secretary of State”) approving the proposed acquisition by 21CF for the fully diluted share capital of Sky which 21CF and its Affiliates do not already own (the “Acquisition”), subject to undertakings accepted under paragraph 9 of Schedule 2 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Protection of Legitimate Interest) Order 2003. 21CF also announces that it has, with the written consent of the Independent Committee of Sky, waived the element of the pre-condition concerning approval of the UK Secretary of State which required the expiry of the time limit within which an application to the Competition Appeal Tribunal may be made.
Therefore, following (i) today’s approval by the Secretary of State, subject to undertakings accepted under paragraph 9 of Schedule 2 of the Enterprise Act 2002 (Protection of Legitimate Interest) Order 2003; and (ii) the waiver of the element of the final outstanding pre-condition which required the expiry of the time limit within which an application to the Competition Appeal Tribunal may be made, all regulatory pre-conditions to the Acquisition have now been satisfied or waived.
Currently in a bidding war with Comcast, Fox had upped its offer for Sky late Tuesday night to $32 billion. On Wednesday, Comcast trumped that with a $34 billion offer of its own. A previous offer of Comcast’s was already cleared by the U.K. government in June.
Fox already owns 39 percent of Sky and aims to own the whole company outright.
This whole thing is further complicated by Disney’s pending acquisition of many 21st Century Fox assets. Should that be finalized, Disney has pledged a 15-year, $2 billion commitment to fund Sky News. This suitor’s quarrel is further complicated by the fact that Comcast is still trying to spoil the Disney-Fox deal with a Fox acquisition of its own.
When reached by TheWrap, Comcast declined the opportunity to comment on this story.