Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has agreed to buy the 61% share of Sky that he does not already own for £11.7B ($14.6B), submitting its formal offer for the same amount it originally announced on Friday.
Fox announced the news on Thursday, saying the deal would see Sky shareholders receive £10.75 for each share in cash. Fox also said it was pursuing a Scheme of Arrangement, which means the friendly takeover would need the backing of 75% of Sky’s independent shareholders who vote to secure the deal, rather than 90% needed through a straight takeover.
The deal values Sky, Europe’s largest pay-TV provider, at £18B ($22.$B) and would see Murdoch’s media empire expand across both sides of the Atlantic, giving him control of what will be the UK’s largest media company.
In a statement, Fox said: “As the founding shareholder of Sky, we are proud to have participated in its growth and development. The strategic rationale for this combination is clear. It creates a global leader in content creation and distribution, enhances our sports and entertainment scale, and gives us unique and leading direct-to-consumer capabilities and technologies. It adds the strength of the Sky brand to our portfolio, including Fox, National Geographic and Star brands.”
It added: “The enhanced capabilities of the combined company will be underpinned by a more geographically diverse and stable revenue base.”
The takeover comes five years after Murdoch’s approach for Sky was rejected when his UK newspaper business was hit by a phone-hacking scandal.
On Monday, UK government raised concerns about plurality over the deal during an urgent question debate at Parliament. Digital and culture minister Matt Hancock was grilled and said that once a “formal notification” had been received by the parties, Culture Minister Karen Bradley would have 10 days to decide whether to issue an public intervention notice, which would then see media regulator Ofcom carry out a public interest test on the takeover offer.