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Disney must bid for Sky, takeover umpire rules

13 April 2018

However this will not apply if either Fox's takeover bid for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own is approved before the sale of most of its assets to Disney, or if rival Sky bidder the United States broadcast company Comcast acquires more than half of Sky's shares in a deal.

If Comcast ends up acquiring Sky, Disney would not have to put forward a bid, the Takeover Panel said.

Sky separately said that shareholders should not take any action, and further advice will be announced in due course.

The Takeover Panel decision failed to lift the shares further, although if Comcast decides not to make a firm offer and the Fox bid is blocked it does give Sky shareholders certainty that one of the trio circling the company has to buy.

Disney had said it did not believe it should be required to make a bid for the whole of Sky in line with Fox's existing offer if it bought the Fox assets. "Each of Disney, Fox and Sky has accepted these rulings", it added.

The UK regulator said Disney would have to make a fixed GBP10.75 per share cash offer for Sky, the same price offered by Fox.

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Shares in Sky were trading marginally lower at 1,310.50 pence Thursday morning in London.

If the Competition and Markets Authority clears Murdoch's bid and Disney is in turn allowed to complete its Fox deal, then Sky will come under the full ownership of the theme parks-to-films conglomerate.

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

Fans haven not heard a lot about Disney's Fox acquisition in recent months, but 21st Century Fox President Peter Rice has finally given an update, in the form of a loose deadline, for when the acquisition will finally take hold.

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

Disney must bid for Sky, takeover umpire rules