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Murdoch's 21st Century Fox gets Sky backing for bid

Murdoch empire makes Sky deal

TV, broadband, and phone provider Sky has been bought out by the U.S. entertainment giant 21st Century Fox, following a cash offer of £11.7 billion for the 61 percent of company shares Fox did not already own.

The £10.75-a-share, all-cash offer which the committee recommended to investors values Sky at £18.5 billion.

Rupert Murdoch took a big step toward consolidating his power base in British media after his USA media group Twenty-First Century Fox agreed Thursday to buy the shares it doesn't already own in Sky PLC for 11.7 billion pounds ($14.6 billion).

Fox CEO James Murdoch, also Sky's chairman, has repeatedly noted the current ownership structure is "not an end state that is natural" for his family.

Murdoch has since split his media empire into two companies — 21st Century Fox and News Corp.

Bradley has the power to ask Ofcom, the media regulator, to further examine the deal.

After winning the backing of Sky's independent directors, Fox will need to secure regulatory approval in Europe and Britain and win over those Sky shareholders who believe the price is too low.

There is a potential roadblock for the deal though - if approved, Rupert Murdoch, who already owns the Sun and the Times, will have an unprecedented amount of control over the media in the UK. Both deals would establish new beachheads for the companies, combining the delivery of content with the content itself. "This combination creates an agile organisation that is equipped to better succeed in a global market". So, you'd think he'd have held out for a bit more than Martin Gilbert, the real Sky SID. The company pledged to keep Sky's headquarters in London and complete a 1 billion-pound investment in the campus.

"It would have been preferable to have an independent chairman", Piers Hillier, chief investment officer at Royal London, a Sky shareholder, said in a December 12 statement. He was one of eight members of the independent committee, along with CFO Andrew Griffith and six non-executive directors, including Gilbey.

The tycoon's latest £10.75-a-share bid for Sky has once gain sparked fears that too much of Britain's media will be under the tycoon's control. Most come from investment banking and major cable operation backgrounds. Sky provides satellite-TV service to 21.8 million customers across the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria, and has been adding exclusive entertainment and original content to its core sports offerings while expanding into broadband and mobile service. The company has annual revenues of approximately £12 billion.