The Takeover Panel in its opinion said it "considers that securing control of Sky might reasonably be considered to be a significant objective of Disney's acquiring control of Fox", adding the conglomerate would have to offer the same price that Fox has offered to buy the rest of Sky. Fox now owns 61% of Sky and is in the process of buying the remaining shares.
The UK Takeover Panel ruled that the Walt Disney Co would have to make a mandatory offer for Sky PLC after completing its proposed USD60.00 billion takeover of most the assets of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, which now owns 39% of the pay-TV operator and has been trying to acquire the remainder. Comcast in February said that it was considering making an offer for Sky.
Shares in Sky were trading marginally lower at 1,310.50 pence Thursday morning in London.
Sky separately said that shareholders should not take any action, and further advice will be announced in due course. While the Takeover Panel only requires a £10.75 per share bid from Disney, the company will have to offer much more to take on Comcast, Odey said.
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The panel's supervisory role is distinct from the investigation into the Fox-Sky deal being carried out by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which looks at wider issues.
In the meantime, Comcast is still in the mix with a competing $31 billion bid for Sky after missing out on the deal for Fox's entertainment assets that went to Disney.
However, Disney argued that if Fox's attempt to buy the remainder of Sky were to be blocked, it should not be forced under takeover rules to try to do so itself. That's the same price offered by billionaire Rupert Murdoch's Fox to Sky shareholders in 2016 for the stake it doesn't already hold.
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority is now reviewing Fox's bid for Sky and is due to report back to British culture secretary Matt Hancock by May 1, who will then have 30 days to decide whether or not to approve the deal.