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Comcast raises Sky bid to £26bn as UK government approves Fox takeover

Comcast has raised its cash offer for Sky to £26 billion after 21st Century Fox’s cash bump to £24.5 billion (€27.7 billion) earlier this week.

The latest move in the bidding war for Sky comes as the UK government finally gave a green light to Fox’s takeover of the UK pay TV operator.

The offer takes Comcast’s bid up to £14.75 per share. The media giant said that its increased offer has been recommended by the Sky Independent Committee of Directors.

“The Increased Offer represents a significant increase in value relative to the original Comcast Offer and the 21CF Offer,” the committee said in a statement.

Comcast has already received relevant regulatory approvals in the EU, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Jersey. It would expect to complete the acquisition before the end of October 2018.

Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast said: “We are pleased to be announcing a recommended increased offer for Sky today. We have long admired Sky, which we believe is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast.

“Today’s announcement further underscores this belief and our commitment to owning Sky. We will be posting our offer document to Sky shareholders shortly.”

The move arrives shortly after Fox increased its offer for Sky on Tuesday. It is unlikely that this is the end of the bidding battle, as Fox continues to attempt to make a deal with Disney for a range of its media assets. 

Comcast’s new bid came as new UK digital, culture, media and sport secretary Jeremy Wright approved 21st Century Fox’s own planned takeover of the 61% of Sk8y that it does not already own.

Wright’s approval of the deal came after Fox agreed rto sell Sky news to Disney and commit to £100 million in funding for the channel over the next 15 years.

The approval was widely expected following previous culture secretary Matt Hancock’s acceptance that the new terms offered by Fox had met the criteria he had set out before parliament for approving the deal.