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UK Takeover panel sets Disney/Sky conditions

13 April 2018

At the time the Disney deal was announced, Fox said it still was committed to completing its proposed acquisition of the rest of Sky.

It added: "21st Century Fox remains committed to its recommended cash offer for Sky announced on 15th December 2016, which is supported by revised remedies recently offered to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) with whom 21st Century Fox has been co-operating in order to bring the United Kingdom regulatory process to a swift and satisfactory conclusion".

The UK Takeover Panel said Disney must offer Sky shareholders £10.75 a share if competition authorities block Fox's takeover of the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own.

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United Kingdom regulators said Thursday that Walt Disney Co. must make an offer for all of Sky PLC, the British broadcaster, if its proposed acquisition of assets from 21st Century Fox Inc. proceeds.

Today, UK authorities said Disney would not have to make the mandatory offer in one of two eventualities: if the CMA waves through the Murdoch takeover, or if Comcast's approach is firmed up and accepted by Sky shareholders.

Shares in Sky on Thursday were down 0.2% in London at 1,307.00 pence, or GBP13.07, each.

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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. Disney argued that owning Sky was not a major driver of its overall Fox deal - which includes buying Hollywood studio 20th Century Fox - and so that rule should not apply.

Fox faces a number of regulatory hurdles after the UK's competition watchdog found the £11.7bn deal was "not in the public interest". However, Fox has proposed remedies to allay the regulators' concerns. Meanwhile, it is awaiting the outcome of the United Kingdom competition regulator's verdict on whether to allow Murdoch to buy the 61% of Sky he does not already own - a deal that was well in train before the Disney transaction.

It is also not clear how Disney properties might benefit.

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UK Takeover panel sets Disney/Sky conditions