Disney must bid for Sky even if Murdoch offer fails, watchdog rules

Disney must bid for Sky even if Murdoch offer fails, watchdog rules

Disney must bid for Sky even if Murdoch offer fails, watchdog rules

The Executive considers that securing control of Sky might reasonably be considered to be a significant objective of Disney's acquiring control of Fox. Fox now owns 61% of Sky and is in the process of buying the remaining shares. However, it also means they have a likely bidder for the business and a price floor should the Fox takeover be blocked by United Kingdom regulators and if Comcast doesn't formalize its proposed £12.50 per share offer for Sky.

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.

Meanwhile, previous year Disney agreed to buy Fox's entertainment assets including its stake in Sky, in a separate deal which is also subject to regulatory clearance.

Sky shares were mostly unchanged at 1,311 pence as of 11:41am in London.

In a separate development, Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, said that Fox's potential involvement in a sports rights cartel should be taken into consideration by the regulators before they make a final decision on Mr Murdoch's takeover of Sky.

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Rupert Murdoch's Fox agreed an offer to buy all of Sky 17 months ago, but is still waiting approval. Earlier in the month, the company proposed two remedies to address plurality concerns voiced by United Kingdom mergers regulator the Competition & Markets Authority.

However, Disney argued that if Fox's attempt to buy the remainder of Sky were to be blocked, it should not be forced under takeover rules to try to do so itself. Rice said the new company will probably just be called "Fox".

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

It is also not clear how Disney properties might benefit.

It is understood that Sky lobbied the Panel to force Disney to bid, allowing its independent directors, led by deputy chairman Martin Gilbert, another potential opportunity to negotiate a higher price.

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