Sep 12, 2018

Sky takeover battle heads for ‘sealed bids’

The protracted £26bn battle for control of Sky will be decided by a competitive, sealed bids auction contested by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and Comcast unless there is a best-and-final offer for the European media group by the end of next week. The auction will be administered by the Takeover Panel, the body that regulates UK mergers and acquisitions, to draw the curtain on a saga that has dragged on for almost two years, making it one of the longest-running UK takeover battles. Legacy media companies have turned to consolidation to keep up, with AT&T buying Time Warner, the owner of HBO and CNN, and Walt Disney defeating Comcast in the race to acquire Fox's entertainment businesses - which included a 39 per cent stake in Sky. Neither company has yet said that these offers are their final bids so shareholders have anticipated improved terms: Sky shares are trading at £15.44. Takeover Panel rules stipulate that bids cannot be changed two weeks before the end of a 60-day offer period, with the clock having been set when Fox submitted its formal document in early August.

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