Disney Forced Into Takeover Offer for Sky If Fox's Bid Fails

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

The Walt Disney Company will be required to make a bid for European satellite operator Sky if its deal for 21st Century Fox's assets closes before Fox can finalize its bid to buy the rest of Sky.

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

Disney in December had announced its agreement to buy a large part of Fox, including the Twentieth Century Fox movie and televison studio, cable channels including regional sports networks and key global properties, including the stake in Sky. Fox bid two years ago for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not control, following a failed earlier takeover attempt.

Disney will have 28 days from the completion of its $66B acquisition of Fox to make a £10.25 ($US15) offer for all the shares of Sky if Fox's own $15.7B takeover of Sky is not complete by then or if Comcast's rival offer has not been accepted.

City AM reports that Comcast is also in the mix to purchase Sky, coming in with a £22.1bn offer, trumping Sky at £12.50 a share. The deal for that is being reviewed by United Kingdom regulators, while Comcast has also said it was ready to make a competing offer for Sky.

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Following the statement from the Takeover Panel, Sky advised its shareholders to take no action. Disney's intent was revealed amid new remedies Fox submitted to the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is reviewing Fox's bid for Sky.

Sky shares were mostly unchanged at 1,311 pence in London on Thursday morning.

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

Fox proposed create a independent and separately run company for Sky News. Disney will be required to make a mandatory offer to the holders of ordinary shares in Sky... It made a submission to the United Kingdom takeover panel, the city watchdog for corporate deals, saying it did not wish to be forced to pursue a full takeover of Sky if Rupert Murdoch failed to take full control.

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