Jul 12, 2018

Fox granted regulatory approval for Sky as bidding war intensifies

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

21st Century Fox has been granted regulatory approval to purchase Sky Broadcasting Thursday, after more than a year of making concessions to regulators. The news comes just hours after Comcast increased its bid for Sky to £14.75 per share, topping 21st Century Fox's upped bid yesterday for £14 per share.

Why it matters: Now that both Fox and Comcast are in solid regulatory standing with regulators in the UK, the winner of Sky will come down to who offers the highest bid. (Regulators signaled in May that it wouldn't block Comcast's bid for Sky. )

The big picture: Comcast is taking its bidding war with Fox for Sky Broadcasting in Europe seriously in the chance that it doesn't win Fox's entertainment assets in the US over Disney because it needs access to an international Pay-TV and streaming property.

The Sky's limit: With Comcast's increased offer, Sky is now worth $34 million, more than double Fox's original offer $15 million for the majority share of the properties over a year ago. But, sources say it's unlikely that the bidding war will go too much higher.

Sky Broadcasting is unique because it reaches nearly 23 million households across five European countries. It also has a robust over-the-top streaming business — which would help its new majority owner build a streaming audience overseas.

  • Comcast only makes 9% of its revenue internationally, as of now, and most of that presumably comes from NBCUniversal's movie studio business.

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Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Government will cover uninsured patients' coronavirus treatment

Azar at Friday's briefing. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The federal government will cover the costs of coronavirus treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said at a White House briefing Friday.

How it works: The money will come from a $100 billion pot set aside for the health care industry in the most recent stimulus bill. Providers will be paid the same rates they get for treating Medicare patients, and as a condition of those payments, they won't be allowed to bill patients for care that isn't covered.