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(Pocket-lint) - Twenty-First Century Fox has been in talks to buy Sky before but it seems there is a breakthrough in the acquisition of the satellite broadcaster and entertainment company.

After a new approach by the movie studio and media firm, and subsequent negotiations, the Independent Directors of Sky have agreed on a purchase price and have set a date for a formal offer to be made.

Sky values its shares for the buyout at £10.75 a share, which is a premium of 40 per cent per share on the closing price on 6 December. If taken up, it will value the company at £18.5 billion.

Fox has until 6 January 2017 to make a full offer or make its intentions known if it decides against pressing forward with the acquisition.

21st Century Fox is already a major shareholder in Sky, currently owning 39 per cent. Any purchase will give it complete control over the organisation. Fox is currently headed by CEO James Murdoch, who previously held the same position at BSkyB, before it rebranded as simply Sky.

Fox had been forced to abandon plans to buy the remaining shares in Sky in 2011. Whether the deal would be approved this time around is unsure.

Sky states that discussions are continuing and further announcements will be made in due course.

Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 9 December 2016.