Comcast, Fox to settle $35B takeover for Sky in an auction
Comcast, Fox to settle $35B takeover for Sky in an auction
Sky auction process takes place on Saturday
22 September, 2018, 20:11
The Takeover Panel said that the auction would start at 17:00 London time on Friday and end on Saturday evening.
Fox has always been trying to acquire the 61 percent of Sky it doesn't already own.
A bidding war emerged last December, when Comcast made an offer for Fox's entertainment assets, which Disney is in the process of buying for about $71 billion.
A protracted $34 billion bidding war for European broadcaster Sky (SKYB.L) between USA rivals Comcast (CMCSA.O) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA.O) is likely to be settled by a quick-fire auction on Saturday.
The world's biggest entertainment group Comcast now leads Fox in the fight with a £14.75 a share offer for control of Sky that values the broadcaster at £25.9 billion ($34.2 billion).
The battle for Sky will be settled by Saturday evening after a rapid-fire one-day auction between three of the world's largest media companies. With stiff opposition to the Fox bid in the U.K., Comcast entered the fray earlier this year, setting up a bidding war between two media heavyweights. Fox's latest offer stands at 14 pounds per share.
For Comcast, Sky offers a chance for growth - a company with proven quality in sports and entertainment together with the technology to deliver it.
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While it will still be up to Sky shareholders to take whichever offer they like best, much of the groundwork for such a decision has already been laid.
"We still have the ability at the end of it to say no, sorry, you still haven't bid enough", he told Reuters on Thursday. Bloomberg earlier reported the timing of the one-day auction to settle the biggest purchase since the panel was established in 1968 to supervise and regulate takeovers of British companies.
There have only been three British takeover situations since 2007 in which the regulator has run auctions, including the 6.2 billion-pound sale of Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus to India's Tata Steel (TISC.NS), according to analysis by Reuters. In the second round, Comcast can make a higher counter-bid. The deal was held up for more than a year after the United Kingdom government referred it to Ofcom, the telecoms and media regulator and the Competition and Markets Authority, the UK's main competition regulator.
If the second round draws a bid, the Panel will then run a third stage when both suitors will have the opportunity to sweeten their offers further in what would essentially be sealed bids.
It's rare for a United Kingdom takeover to be decided by auction but the process is created to produce final bids from each suitor that can then be evaluated by shareholders.
The Panel has not set any rules governing how Sky's independent directors should respond once the the auction is over.
Comcast eventually dropped out of that contest to focus on its acquisition of Sky.
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