Fox given all-clear to buy Sky amid takeover battle

Cornelia Mascio
Luglio 16, 2018

But Comcast struck back later on Wednesday with its 14.75 pound counterbid, which Sky's independent directors recommended to shareholders.

Comcast expects to pay the banks, law firms and other advisers on its £25.9 billion (RM138.8 billion) bid for Sky as much as £243 million if it wins the battle for the British broadcaster, the United States cable giant said yesterday. He told CNBC that Comcast seemed "pretty determined" to acquire Sky, given the multiple implied by its latest bid.

Overall, while it seems everybody sells TV and movie content to Netflix, it doesn't look like it will last forever, especially now with Disney looking to pulling out some of its movie content. Sky's shares closed at £15.35, up more than 5% on the week.

However, that requirement will no longer hold if Fox successfully takes over the whole of Sky as there will be no minority investors left in the business. Fox is expected to make a counter bid for Sky, which could come as early as next week, making this ruling somewhat redundant.

If the Fox and Sky deals go through, Disney would have majority ownership of three major direct-to-consumer platforms: Hulu in the U.S., Sky in Europe and Hotstar in India.

The Panel said in April Disney should match Fox's first offer for Sky, which was 10.75 pounds a share. Of course, this deal still has find it's way through regulators in the US. Of the assets he's seeking to acquire from Fox, Disney CEO Bob Iger called Sky "a real crown jewel". Iger sees an opportunity to expand Disney's direct to consumer offerings and worldwide presence and make Disney a global entertainment company with the United Kingdom pay-TV operator's 23 million customers. Comcast is now also working on a counter proposal to top Disney's deal with Fox. Comcast expects to complete the acquisition before the end of October 2018. Fox and Disney are prohibited from engaging with Comcast but if Comcast presents an improved offer to the board of Fox, Murdoch is likely to abstain from a vote to decide whether to engage with Comcast to deliver a better offer.

Analysts at Jefferies said they thought Comcast, if required, could yet offer more.

Given that the 39% stake - deemed a controlling shareholding - would be transferred to a new owner, rules stipulate that the new owner must offer the minority investors an opportunity to exit by buying out their shares.

Fox said Disney had given its consent to the additional debt Fox would take on and said that it would reimburse Fox by around 1 billion pounds if Fox succeeds in buying Sky at that price, but the Disney-Fox transaction falls through.

Technology companies are soaring Thursday as investors remain optimistic about the sector even though much of the market has been shaken by fears about the trade war with China. This is the case with Disney and Comcast buying Fox's stake in Sky.

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