UK Takeover panel sets Disney/Sky conditions

CREDIT Courtesy of Disney  Pixar

Walt Disney will have to make an offer for the whole of Sky if 21st Century Fox's bid to purchase the remaining 61 per cent stake in the European pay-TV company is unsuccessful, the UK's takeover regulator said on Thursday.

In December, Disney said it planned to acquire a large part of Twenty First Century 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, which were valued collectively at USD60.00 billion.

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

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 decision comes from United Kingdom regulatory body the Takeover Panel, which is part of the review process for Fox's $25.8 billion bid to buy the 61% of Sky is doesn't now own.

The U.K. Takeover Panel on Thursday ruled that Walt Disney must make a mandatory offer to buy full 100 percent control of Sky if and when it completes its planned acquisition of large parts of 21st Century Fox, including Fox's stake in Sky.

Today, UK authorities said Disney would not have to make the mandatory offer in one of two eventualities: if the CMA waves through the Murdoch takeover, or if Comcast's approach is firmed up and accepted by Sky shareholders.

Following the statement from the Takeover Panel, Sky advised its shareholders to take no action.

Fox is awaiting a review from the U.K.'s competition watchdog due May 1 concerning its own Sky bid.

It also said that Disney was interested in acquiring Sky News.

The three companies - Sky, Fox and Disney - signed a confidentiality agreement in March. 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.

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