Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

UK's takeover authority says Disney must acquire Sky if Fox bid fails

UK's takeover authority says Disney must acquire Sky if Fox bid fails

The Walt Disney Company will be required to make a bid for European satellite operator Sky if its deal for 21st Century Fox's assets closes before Fox can finalize its bid to buy the rest of Sky. The Executive considers that securing control of Sky might reasonably be considered to be a significant goal of Disney's acquiring control of Fox.

Rupert Murdoch's Fox agreed an offer to buy all of Sky 17 months ago, but is still waiting approval.

The ruling is contingent on Disney's $52.4 billion purchase of Fox's entertainment assets getting completed.

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Disney in December had announced its agreement to buy a large part of Fox, including the Twentieth Century Fox movie and televison studio, cable channels including regional sports networks and key worldwide properties, including the stake in Sky. Fox now owns 61% of Sky and is in the process of buying the remaining shares. It also posits that this would not be required if another third party has acquired 50% of Sky by then. Comcast in February said that it was considering making an offer for Sky.

It added: "At this stage, Sky shareholders are advised to take no further action". Culture Secretary Matt Hancock will consider the regulator's ruling and make a final decision on the Fox-Sky deal by mid-June. However, Fox has proposed remedies to allay the regulators' concerns. Comcast's approach would see Sky shareholder's receive £12.50 a share, a significant premium to Murdoch's offer.

Disney's in-the-works takeover of 21st Century Fox leaves the future of the duo's many media assets in the air as competition authorities analyse the effect the giant would have on the market.

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Sky shares rose 0.1 percent to 13.11 pounds at 1:15 London.

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.

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