21C Fox will have to table a new £26 billion+ (€22.5bn) offer for Sky by CoB Thursday August 9th if it is to stop rival Comcast from becoming the new owner of the pay-TV broadcaster.
Under UK takeover rules, Fox has until the end of Thursday to formally post a bid to Sky shareholders as it looks to take control of the 61 per cent of Sky he does not already own.
Fox’s current bid of £24.5 billion and Sky’s independent committee has recommended that shareholders accept Comcast’s higher bid.
Fox could use its full-year results at the close of business in the US on Wednesday to announce a new bid. Disney, which could look to sideline Murdoch and mount a direct bid for full control of Sky, is due to report its latest quarterly results on Tuesday.
Sky is trading at £15.13 a share, above Comcast’s £14.75-a-share offer, indicating investors believe Murdoch is not ready to throw in the towel in the bidding war just yet.
At the end of July 2018, Disney’s $71.3 billion offer to take over Fox, which includes a 39 per cent stake in Sky, was approved by the shareholders of both companies. Because Murdoch has a deal in place with Disney, Fox must ask for consent each time a new bid is made for Sky.
Disney, which has called Sky the “crown jewel” of Fox’s assets, revealed in a recent financial filing that it had upped Sky’s profit forecasts by as much as a third in the coming years, partly because of the huge cost savings made on the pay-TV company’s latest deal for Premier League rights.
Last month, Comcast pulled out of its pursuit of Fox to focus on Sky.
This move has led some analysts to believe that a carve-up may be on the cards, if Comcast beats Murdoch to the 61 per cent of Sky, with Disney selling the 39 per cent of Sky it will own through buying Fox to Comcast. In return, there may also be an asset swap, with Comcast handing over its 30 per cent stake in Hulu, a US competitor to Netflix. Disney owns 60 per cent of Hulu, doubling its stake by taking Fox’s 30 per cent as part of the deal with Murdoch.