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UK government approves 21st Century Fox bid for Sky

Thursday 12 July 2018 | 16:42 CET | News

The UK government has formally approved 21 Century Fox's plans to acquire pay-TV group Sky. In a statement, new Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright said that the takeover can proceed as long as Sky News is sold to Disney to alleviate public interest concerns about media plurality.

This follows a statement by former Culture Secretary Matt Hancock in June agreeing with the findings of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). A consultation was then opened on undertakings offered by 21st Century Fox and new undertakings offered by Disney. After receiving five responses to the consultation, Hancock agreed a clarification to Disney's undertakings and changes to the associated brand licensing agreement. In addition, the Secretary of State will consult with the CMA in relation to these undertakings.

The new Secretary of State said it was now a matter for Sky shareholders to decide whether to accept the bid from 21st Century Fox, which increased its offer on 11 July to outbid US rival Comcast. This resulted in Comcast increasing its offer to GBP 14.75 per share, valuing Sky at GBP 26 billion. This compares to 21CF's increased offer of GBP 14 per share and Comcast's previous offer of GBP 12.50 per share. 

In response, Sky welcomed the written statement from the Secretary of State regarding 21CF's offer for Sky. It said that 21CF's offer for the company has now cleared its outstanding regulatory pre-conditions, and follows the satisfaction by Comcast on 15 June of its outstanding regulatory pre-conditions. This means that both offers can now be put formally to Sky shareholders. 

In a separate statement, 21CF noted the Secretary of State's announcement approving the acquisition. It also said that it has waived the element of pre-condition concerning approval by the Secretary of State which required the expiry of the time limit within which an application to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) can be made. 



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Categories: Broadcast & Satellite
Companies: 21st Century Fox / Comcast / Disney / Sky
Countries: Europe / United Kingdom
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