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Disney must offer to buy all of Sky, Britain's takeover regulator rules

Reuters  |  LONDON 

By Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's takeover regulator said must offer to buy all of if it acquires Twenty-First Century Fox's 39 percent stake and if Rupert Murdoch's is prevented from purchasing all of the European pay-TV company itself.

agreed an offer to buy all of 17 months ago but is still waiting regulatory approval, while has agreed to buy assets, including its stake in Sky, in a separate deal subject to its own regulatory clearance.

The ruling means that if Fox's bid to buy is blocked by the government in June because of Murdoch's media influence, will have to step in to make the same offer to shareholders if and when it becomes the owner of Fox's assets.

had said it should not be required to make a bid for the whole of in line with Fox's existing offer if it bought the assets, but Britain's Takeover Panel ruled on Thursday that it must match Fox's 10.75 pounds-a-share price.

Analysts had said wanted a special dispensation to give it more flexibility on whether or when it would bid for the rest of if it only bought the 39 percent stake from

The Takeover Panel, however, said it considered that securing control of might reasonably be considered to be a significant purpose of Disney's acquiring control of Fox, and it must make an offer within 28 days of buying the assets.


The Panel's ruling will not stand if has acquired 100 percent of by the time buys the assets, or if or any other third party has acquired a stake of more than 50 percent in

U.S. cable company Comcast said on Feb. 27 that it was considering making an offer for

said it noted the Takeover Panel's ruling, and it advised shareholders to take no further action at this time.

Twenty-First Century said that under the ruling, any mandatory offer by would only be required after Disney's acquisition of is completed, which currently expects to occur after completion of Fox's offer for

"21CF (Fox) remains committed to its recommended cash offer for announced on 15th December 2016," it said.

The offer was supported by revised remedies it had offered to Britain's Competition and Markets Authority, it added.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by and Alexander Smith)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 12 2018. 21:25 IST