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21st Century Fox is buying UK's Sky in $14.6 billion deal

Rupert Murdoch now owns a distribution platform for his film and broadcast empire.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
December 15, 2016
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Reuters

Following talks last week, 21st Century Fox has agreed to buy Sky, the UK's largest pay-TV network, for £11.7 billion ($14.6 billion). The UK-based pay-TV broadcaster and broadband provider counts nearly 22 million subscribers in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria. That'll give Rupert Murdoch a delivery platform for his 20th Century Fox movie studio and Fox TV network, along with cable TV channels like FX, Fox Sports and National Geographic.

The deal "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," 21st Century Fox said in a statement. As part of the deal, Sky headquarters will stay in London and continue a £1 billion ($1.25 billion) expansion of its headquarters.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned media empire already owns 39 percent of Sky and tried to buy the remaining shares back in 2010. However, the company abandoned the attempt after several of the company's tabloids became embroiled in a the so-called phone hacking scandal.

Rumored talks last week valued Sky as high as £18.5 billion ($23.2 billion). That appears to be spot on, as the price tag is around 61 percent of that sum, exactly equal to the outstanding shares Fox didn't own. With Brexit significantly weakening the pound, Sky became significantly cheaper for US-based Fox, making it ripe for the acquisition.

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