21st Century Fox approaches Sky for estimated $31.27 billion dollar takeover

European pay-TV group Sky Plc says it has received a takeover approach from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, the company's largest shareholder.

The deal was reached between independent directors of both boards, though other elements remain under discussion, and there's no certainty an official offer will be made by Fox, Sky said.

It cautioned there could be no certainty that a final offer would be made by 21st Century Fox, which already owns almost 40 percent of Sky. Sky shares were up 31% in London.

Fox Chief Executive James Murdoch was named chairman of Sky this year, fueling speculation that the USA media company would make a bid. Sky and 21st Century Fox have reached agreement on an offer price of £10.75 per share in cash, less the value of any dividends subsequently paid by Sky.

Murdoch had previously tried to take full control of Sky but was sidelined in 2011 amid a phone-hacking scandal at his British newspapers that rocked the United Kingdom political and media establishment.

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Gaining total ownership of Sky would give Fox, which owns cable networks including FX and National Geographic, a powerful distribution platform in Europe for pay television and internet.

There has always been speculation that another takeover deal was coming from 21st Century Fox.

There has always been speculation that another takeover deal was coming after James Murdoch, Rupert's son and the CEO of 21st Century Fox, became chairman of Sky in April.

The media baron's younger son, James Murdoch, was Sky chairman from 2007 to 2012, but was forced to step down because of the scandal. With the dollar at its highest level against the pound in over 30-years following the Brexit vote, for Murdoch's American entity, the deal works out to 17% cheaper either side of the 23 June vote.

A combination of 21st Century Fox and Sky would be the latest to bring together a maker of TV and movies and a distributor of it.

  • Marjorie Miles