Comcast last night raised its offer for pay-TV giant Sky in a deal valuing it at $34bn (£25.74bn), topping an already improved bid of $32.5bn from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox earlier in the day.
Comcast said its cash offer has been recommended by Sky’s independent committee of directors and that it has committed the financing required for the deal.
The improved bid means Sky investors now have 60 days to weigh up the offers.
Comcast said it expects to complete the deal before the end of October, having received regulatory approvals in Europe.
Fox, which has been trying to buy the pan-European group since December 2016, offered to pay 1,400p per share, a 12 per cent premium to Comcast’s earlier offer.
The American pay-TV group gatecrashed Murdoch’s attempt to buy the 61 per cent of Sky his group did not already own in February, when Fox was firmly stuck in the regulatory process. A Sky-Fox deal still has to be approved by the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport. On Monday Matt Hancock, who previously held the role, was made health secretary and replaced in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by Jeremy Wright.
The new culture secretary said he expects to keep to the timetable set out by his predecessor and will announce a final decision by the end of the week.
The battle for Sky is raging while a separate tussle for Fox’s entertainment assets simmers on between Comcast and Disney.