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Fox fuels Sky fight with a higher offer

RUPERT MURDOCH’S 21st Century Fox has turned up the heat in the battle to take over Sky with a bid worth £24.5billion.

Fox’s £14 per share offer is nearly a third more than its original proposal 18 months ago — and leapfrogs rival Comcast’s bid of £12.50 a share.

All eyes are now on Comcast’s next move amid expectations the US cable group may improve its £22billion offer. Fox is hoping to see off its rival after a long battle to buy the remaining 61 per cent stake in Sky it does not already own.

It has faced heavy scrutiny from the government and competition watchdogs over fears that the takeover could give Mr Murdoch (pictured above) too much power over UK media.

George Salmon, an equity analyst with Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘The fact the offer is slightly behind what some had anticipated brings another twist. In fact, there’s every chance it might entice another counter from Comcast.’

Fox is still waiting for a final decision from the government on whether to accept its proposals.

Last month, the then culture secretary Matt Hancock said it would have to sell off Sky News to secure approval for the deal. A decision is expected imminently.

Shares in Sky closed at just 0.5 per cent down on the day after Fox revealed its latest offer.

I’m planning to protect habitats in my newt job

PICTURE: SWNS

INDEA CHAWK has been appointed the country’s first ‘newt officer’ to save the species from decline. The NatureSpace worker will work with planners and developers in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to ensure their habitats are protected.

BUSINESS BITES

■ BT FACED a shareholder rebellion over outgoing chief executive Gavin Patterson’s £2.3million exit deal. Around 30 per cent rejected its pay report.

■ ALDI has been named the top place for wine in the 2018 prestigious International Wine Challenge. The chain’s £11 Veuve Monsigny Brut champagne was ‘one of the best in the world’.

■ BUYING with a partner is the only way to afford a home, 30 per cent of 2,000 people not on the housing ladder told Skipton Building Society.

■ SAINSBURY’S has chosen City grandee Martin Scicluna as the supermarket giant’s next chairman, replacing David Tyler, who checks out next March.