(Bloomberg) -- The body that oversees U.K. takeovers raised the minimum price that Walt Disney Co. must pay for British pay-TV company Sky Plc as Disney battles Comcast Corp. for control of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
Disney would have to bid for all of Sky at 14 pounds ($18.37) a share if it manages to acquire the entertainment assets of Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox Inc. before a bidding war for Sky between Fox and Comcast concludes, the Takeover Panel said in a statement.
The panel’s decision is unlikely to affect the outcome of the contest as the floor price is in line with Fox’s current bid for Sky and below the 14.75 pounds a share offer from Comcast.
Disney and Comcast are vying for Fox assets including a 39 percent stake in Sky. The Takeover Panel can uphold the interests of other Sky shareholders by forcing Disney and Comcast to buy them out at a minimum price. That price is calculated by examining the bids for the Fox assets and ascribing an implied valuation to the Sky stake. The Panel’s so-called chain principle mandates a full takeover bid for a company if a buyer acquires more than 30 percent of its shares, even if those shares are acquired as part of a larger deal.
The panel had previously ruled, following Disney’s initial $52.4 billion bid for Fox, that a Disney offer for Sky would be required at 10.75 pounds a share. Disney has since increased its offer for the Fox bundle by 35 percent.
Sky is seeking to review the latest ruling, the panel said in the statement, without giving details of Sky’s concerns. “Each of Disney and Fox is considering its position,” it added.
Sky’s shares fell 0.4 percent to 15.39 pounds at noon in London.
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