Fox set to make formal cash bid for Sky this week amid scrutiny from investors and politicians

 
William Turvill
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Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of 21st Century Fox (Source: Getty)

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is set to push ahead with a formal £10.75-per-share cash offer for Sky this week amid discontent from certain shareholders and politicians.

The bid, to increase Fox’s shareholding in Sky from 39 per cent to 100 per cent, values the broadcaster at around £18.5bn.

Sky shareholder Standard Life, which has a 0.26 per cent stake, has suggested the bid undervalues the broadcaster, as has Jupiter Asset Management.

Read more: Standard Life adds to pressure on Sky to demand more from Murdoch's Fox

Royal London Asset Management, meanwhile, is concerned by the fact Rupert Murdoch’s son, James, is chief executive of Fox and chairman of Sky.

Not all shareholders are worried, however. City A.M. understands M&G, which owns a 0.25 per cent stake, is satisfied with the offer.

The possibility of the deal has also attracted high-profile political opposition from the likes of former business secretary Vince Cable, former Labour leader Ed Miliband and a number of other Labour MPs.

Read more: Political opposition to Murdoch takeover of Sky mounts

The government today refused to be drawn on its views on the deal after Labour’s Kevin Brennan, shadow arts and heritage minister, fielded a so-called urgent question in parliament.

In the absence of culture secretary Karen Bradley in parliament, digital and culture minister Matt Hancock responded by saying Bradley would issue a response within 10 days of a formal notification of the deal. This has not yet been issued.

Reuters reported that the firm cash bid could be tabled as soon as Wednesday and that the companies have agreed to a scheme of arrangement, which requires 75 per cent approval from shareholders rather than 90 per cent.

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