Wednesday 12 December 2018

Disney forced into takeover bid for Sky

Disney – headed by CEO Bob Iger – will have to buy Sky if it buys Fox, said the UK Takeover Panel
Disney – headed by CEO Bob Iger – will have to buy Sky if it buys Fox, said the UK Takeover Panel

Joe Mayes

Walt Disney will be forced to make a mandatory takeover offer for Sky if its $52.4bn (€42.5bn) deal to buy most of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox goes ahead.

Disney will have to buy Sky if it buys Fox, before Fox itself has closed its own long delayed effort to purchase Sky, the UK Takeover Panel said yesterday.

At the time of the Fox bid, Disney said it didn't think it should be forced into bidding for Sky.

Disney - headed by chairman and CEO Bob Iger - would have to bid £10.75 a share for Sky if it succeeds in acquiring Fox's 39pc stake in the British broadcaster through the broader deal, according to a statement from the panel. That's the same price offered by Fox to Sky shareholders in 2016 for the stake it doesn't already hold.

The decision may disappoint some Sky shareholders betting that Disney would be forced to offer a higher price than Fox.

However, it also means investors in Sky have a guaranteed bidder for the business should the Fox takeover be blocked by UK regulators and if Comcast doesn't formalise its proposed £12.50-a-share offer for Sky.

The ruling settles months of speculation regarding whether Disney would have to make a direct bid for Sky after Disney's December offer for the bulk of Fox's media and entertainment assets.

Sky shares were mostly unchanged after the news, rising 0.4pc to 1,310.50 pence each as of 10:35 am in London. In a statement, Sky advised shareholders to take no action on the Takeover Panel decision.

Hedge fund shareholders of Sky, including Polygon Global Partners, had called for a mandatory bid for Sky by Disney at a higher price than the Fox offer. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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