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Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Disney forced into takeover offer for Sky by United Kingdom authority

Disney forced into takeover offer for Sky by United Kingdom authority

Pursuant to the UK Takeover Panel ruling, Disney will be required to make an offer for Sky within 28 days of completing the acquisition of Fox, unless Fox has bought 100% of shares of Sky or Comcast Corp or any other third party has acquired more than 50% shares of Sky.

Fox has also offered to buy the 61% stake in Sky it doesn't already own for a total of GBP11.7 billion, or GBP10.75 a share. "The panel executive considers that securing control of Sky might reasonably be considered to be a significant objective of Disney's acquiring control of Fox", it said.

Sky said it "noted" today's announcement and urged shareholders to take no further action.

On making its ruling, The Takeover Panel said that "securing control of Sky might reasonably be considered to be a significant goal of Disney's acquiring control of Fox" and therefore Disney must make an offer within 28 days of buying the Fox assets.

Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox now owns 39 per cent of Sky.

Fox said in a statement it expects the Disney deal to complete after its offer for Sky goes through.

Sky shares were mostly unchanged at 1,311 pence as of 11:41am in London. In January, the United Kingdom competition watchdog ruled that the deal would be against public interest on media plurality grounds and would give too much control to the Murdoch family, which controls Fox.

Fox's offer is under regulatory scrutiny of British regulators.

Forcing Disney to offer the same price as Fox did in 2016 is likely to disappoint some Sky shareholders who were hoping for a higher bid.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority is now reviewing Fox's bid for Sky and is due to report back to British culture secretary Matt Hancock by May 1, who will then have 30 days to decide whether or not to approve the deal. First was the mammoth deal to sell Fox's assets (only one of which is its interest in Sky) to Disney - a deal agreed in December 2017. Rice said the new company will probably just be called "Fox".

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