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21st Century Fox brings in Citibank to help finance Sky takeover

Bank of America had been among the original group of banks lined up to finance the US$15.5bn takeover, but its Merrill Lynch division is acting an advisor to Comcast, which recently unveiled a rival bid for Sky
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Sky’s share price – which stands at £13 – suggests that shareholders are holding out for a bidding war

21st century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) has removed Bank of America from the  group of banks lined up to help finance its proposed US$15.5bn (£10.75bn) takeover of UK pay-TV giant Sky PLC (LON:SKY).

The Rupert Murdoch-owned company has drafted in Citibank in BoA’s place.

Fox requested the change because Merrill Lynch – which is part of the BoA group – is an advisor to US cable firm Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), which has rivalled Fox’s offer with a bid of its own.

Fox, Disney and now Comcast all interested in Sky

Fox – which already owns 39% of Sky’s stock – first launched its bid of £10.75 per Sky share back in December 2016.

Sky’s board has recommended that shareholders accept the offer, but the two parties are still awaiting approval from competition regulators in the UK.

To add to the drama, at the end of last year Fox agreed to sell a string of assets to The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) – including the stake in Sky – once the takeover has closed.

More recently, Comcast – which owns NBC and Universal Pictures – threw its hat into the ring with a possible US$31bn (£22.1bn) all-cash offer, which values each share at £12.50.

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