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Murdoch's Fox acquires Sky Network for $14.6B

By Allen Cone
Murdoch's Fox acquires Sky Network for $14.6B
Rupert Murdoch arrives on the red carpet at the Time 100 Gala at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, in New York City on April 21, 2015. Murdoch was named 100 Most Influential People in the World. His company, 21th Century Fox, has announced it is acquiring the 61 percent of Sky it doesn't own. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Billionaire Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox acquired 61 percent of British-based Sky -- a TV and Internet provider -- that it didn't own for about $14.6 billion, the company said Thursday.

The New York-based media conglomerate will pay $13.52 per share of Sky, which is a 36 percent premium to the closing price of shares on Dec. 8, the company announced. It is the largest translation in Fox history, USA Today reported.

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The deal will allow Fox to expand distribution and add programming.

During a conference call with investment analysts Thursday, Lachlan Murdoch, Fox executive chairman and son of Rupert Murdoch, said, "simply put, the combined company will be a global creative and consumer powerhouse."

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"As the founding shareholder of Sky, we are proud to have participated in its growth and development. The strategic rationale for this combination is clear," Fox said in a release. "It 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."

Sky delivers pay TV and broadband service to 22 million customers across Britain and elsewhere in Europe, including Austria, Germany and Italy. The company generated revenue of $12 billion last year.

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Murdoch's 21st Century Fox includes Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel, FX, FXX, FXM, FS1, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Network, National Geographic Channels, Star India, 28 local television stations in the U.S. and more than 300 international channels. It also owns Twentieth Century Fox film and television production studios.

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The acquisition is subject to pre-conditions and conditions in Britain but Fox hopes to complete the deal before the end of 2017.

Fox pulled its previous bid for Sky in 2011 after it was revealed Rupert Murdoch's News of the World and other newspapers hacked into mobile phones of celebrities and politicians. News of the World closed shortly after it came to light and Murdoch's son, James, resigned as executive chairman of the company's news division, News Corp.

In January, the younger Murdoch became chairman of Sky besides also serving as Fox's chief executive officer.

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