An offer of £24.5 billion tabled by 21st Century Fox yesterday to take control of Sky was trumped late last night by a counterbid from the rival Comcast in a further escalation of the takeover battle for the European pay-TV group.
Fox, which has been trying to buy the pan-European group since December 2016, offered to pay 14 pounds per share, a 12 percent premium to Comcast's earlier offer.
However, Comcast's new offer, more than 5% over Murdoch's latest deal, has won the recommendation of Sky's independent committee.
"It's too low", Odey, a former son-in-law of Murdoch whose eponymous hedge fund is a Sky shareholder, said of the sweetened Fox offer. The complaint alleges that Fox's prospectus filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission after the company accepted Disney's offer was incomplete. It's said that the new $38-a-share price is about $10 a share higher than the original offer from Disney back in December, and it's also $3 above Comcast's most recent bid. His new offer made on Wednesday, at £14.00 a share, once again won over Sky's independent directors who recommended the new £24.5bn deal.
Disney now has a $71.3 billion deal in place with Fox to acquire the company's film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000 Pictures; Fox's television creative units Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21; FX Networks; National Geographic Partners; Fox Networks Group International; Star India; and Fox's interests in Hulu, Sky plc and Tata Sky.
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The world's biggest entertainment company and owner of NBC and Universal Pictures gate-crashed Murdoch's bid for Sky in February.
Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast, said: "We have long admired Sky, which we believe is an outstanding company and a great fit with Comcast".
The suit aims to have the Fox-Disney merger enjoined on a preliminary basis, but if that doesn't occur, the shareholder would like to see the deal rescinded with an award of rescissory damages.
However, British regulators have indicated that if Disney succeeds in buying Fox, including the 39 percent stake in Sky, it would be required to offer the same price for the remainder of Sky. The opposition has not completely subsided despite the plan to spin off Sky News.