Sky's shares were lifted by reports that the American cable giant Comcast is interested in taking control total issuer and other assets of major shareholders 21st Century Fox that is already in advanced sales talks with Disney .
An agreement for Disney to buy several key Fox assets came close to a conclusion and could be agreed before the end of the year, according to overnight reports, although analysts said on Thursday it may not be easy for Fox finish his offer for Sky.
Disney wants to buy Fox's studio and its holdings in Sky focused on Europe, Star of India and other international distribution assets. The talks began again last week after collapsing in October.
Comcast also continues to pursue Fox, according to other reports, with justification for the largely local company to strengthen its international presence and add to its stable cable networks. .
A day earlier, the UK Competition and Markets Authority said it had delayed by one month its tentative decision on the proposed 21st Century Fox agreement to take full control of Sky in order to examine several thousand shipments received. . The watchdog had expected to publish its initial verdict on December 18, but said it would now be sometime in mid-January.
"It is not unusual for us to update our schedules," said a CMA spokesperson. In this case, we have received a lot of evidence, including numerous face-to-face hearings and more than 12,000 presentations, so it is vital that we spend the time to reach an informed and considered provisional vision. "
This investigation may lose its meaning since it is said that Fox is willing to abandon his agreement to buy 61% of Sky and sell his 39% stake to Disney as part of the deal, reported CNBC .
However, assuming that Press reports are accurate, analysts at RBC Capital Market said Fox can not easily end his bid for Sky.
"Fox's bid for Sky is subject to the rules of the Acquisitions Panel. from United Kingdom. they can not go back on acquisition bids once more. A good example of this precedent was the offer of WPP for Tempus in 2001 in which WPP tried unsuccessfully to invoke its material adverse clause after September 11 in order to reverse its offer, "said the RBC analysts. 19659041] The Fox & # 39; s Sky offer is subject to preconditions, which appear to have been met and only await regulatory approval from the United Kingdom.
However, RBC noted that there is a "long-term" date of the August 15, 2018, so if the regulatory approval is not given by this point, Fox can withdraw his offer.
"If approved by then, we believe that Fox would be forced to continue his offer through the Scheme of Arrangement. As a reminder, Fox is not allowed to use his 39% stake to vote. "
If Disney acquired 39% of Fox's shares in Sky, it would be required to make a mandatory offer, since the threshold is 30% in the United Kingdom, but Disney is likely to be interested in the agreement, since it would instantly add critical mass in three of the four largest European economies, as well as unique content.
RBC believes that a "cut price" for Sky in the case of a failed Fox bid is likely to be around 700-750p compared to Fox's offer of 1075p in cash.
In the deal with Fox, analysts at Jefferies said who saw Disney as the "most likely suitor" because of probable regulatory concerns with a Comcast deal.
"Regulatory risks surrounding the ongoing merger of AT & T-Time Warner could suggest similar antitrust concerns about the marriage of additional content assets with the Comcast distribution platform. With many similarities between the assets of DIS / CMCSA and what appears to be a highly probable sale outcome, to what extent taxes, succession and price? , and the probability of approval are the key issues (in order) for the Murdoch is unclear.
"What seems to be clear is a public process that will seek to maximize value for FOXA."