Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox said on Thursday it had agreed to buy European pay-tv firm Sky for $14.6 billion, sticking to its earlier offer despite complaints from some investors. Fox is the founding shareholder in Sky and currently owns approximately 39.1 percent of Sky’s shares and this deal would see it clinch the other 61 percent.
The U.S. mass media corporation is offering £10.75 per share for the slice of Sky which it does not currently own, which equates to a 36% premium to the UK company’s undisturbed share price as of December 8.
People familiar with the matter have told Reuters that Fox pounced after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in June sent the pound down about 15% against the U.S. dollar and Sky’s share price tumbling.
Shares in Sky were trading at 985 pence on Thursday. “As the founding shareholder of Sky, we are proud to have participated in its growth and development,” Fox said in a statement.
“The enhanced capabilities of the combined company will be underpinned by a more geographically diverse and stable revenue base. This combination creates an agile organization that is equipped to better succeed in a global market.”
Murdoch and his team are second time lucky after a similar buyout approach for Sky in 2010 failed amid a media storm surrounding a torrid phone-hacking scandal related to the Murdoch-controlled News of the World tabloid and concerns over his empire’s concentration of media assets.
Since then, the 85-year-old media mogul has split his business into two parts, with Fox housing the TV assets and News Corp home to his newspapers, including the Sun and Times of London.
Competition lawyers and analysts believe the new structure should be enough to alleviate concerns over media plurality, but critics will argue that despite the split, Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan still control both firms.