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LONDON — Comcast Corp. on Wednesday raised its offer for Britain’s Sky in a deal valuing the pay-TV group at $34 billion, topping a raised bid of $32.5 billion from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox .
Comcast said its cash offer has been recommended by Sky’s independent committee of directors and that it has committed financing required for the deal.
The company said it expects to complete the acquisition before the end of October 2018, having received regulatory approvals in the EU, Austria, Germany, Italy, and Jersey.
Fox, which has been trying to buy the pan-European group since December 2016, offered to pay 14 pounds ($18.49) per share, a 12 percent premium to Comcast’s earlier offer.
The U.S. cable group gatecrashed Murdoch’s attempt to buy the 61 percent of Sky his group did not already own in February, when Fox was still firmly stuck in the regulatory process.
The fight for Britain’s leading pay-TV group is part of a bigger battle being waged in the entertainment industry as the world’s media giants splash out tens of billions of dollars on deals to be able to compete with Netflix and Amazon.
Comcast and Walt Disney are locked in a separate $70 billion-plus battle to buy most of Fox’s assets, which would include Sky.
Disney secured conditional U.S. approval to buy the assets last month, giving it an edge over Comcast’s bid.
Comcast owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.
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