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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

Disney must buy Sky UK if Fox's takeover fails rules competition authority

Disney has to buy up Sky shares if Fox does not

Disney’s in-the-works takeover of 21st Century Fox leaves the future of the duo’s many media assets in the air as competition authorities analyse the affect the giant would have on the market.

In the UK on Thursday 12 April, a takeover panel ruled that Disney will have to buy up pay TV provider Sky UK – if Fox’s takeover of the unit stalls.

Reuters reports that on top of the 21st Century Fox’s 39% stake in Sky, Disney would have to make an offer for the whole of Sky, matching the £10.75 per share offered by Fox. Disney is required to own 100% of the broadcaster.

The decision means that Sky has a guaranteed bidder regardless of the wider movements in the market around Disney’s $52bn Fox takeover which is itself subject to regulatory approval.

Culture secretary Matt Hancock is expected to release his final report, in conjunction with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), in mid-June.

City AM reports that Comcast is also in the mix to purchase Sky, coming in with a £22.1bn offer, trumping Sky at £12.50 a share.

Speaking at Advertising Week, WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell underlined that a Disney/Fox merger opens up possibilities of a new super-advertiser that would in Sorrell's opinion attract more spend than Facebook, WPP's second largest platform behind Google.

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