Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox is nearing a firm bid for Sky (LON:SKY), Reuters has reported. The news comes after the company signalled that it was willing to accept a takeover bid at £10.75 per share, angering some of its shareholders. Sky News separately revealed that the UK government would be ‘’fair and impartial” in handling the bid.
Sky’s share price lost ground in yesterday’s session, shedding 2.80 percent to 972.00p. The shares underperformed the blue-chip FTSE 100 index which closed 0.92 percent lower at 6,890.42 points.
Sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters yesterday that Twenty-First Century Fox and Sky had agreed to press ahead with a scheme of arrangement, a court-approved agreement typically used in friendly takeovers, which requires 75 percent approval from shareholders, against 90 percent through a straight takeover under UK rules.
The news comes after several shareholders in the UK group criticised the committee of independent board directors who said that they were willing to accept Fox’s £10.75-per-share bid.
Sky-owned Sky News meanwhile reported that a minister had said that the government will be ‘scrupulously fair and impartial’ in its handling of the bid. Replying to an urgent question in the Commons, Matt Hancock said that procedures were being put in place to ensure Culture Secretary Karen Bradley can make an objective decision about the proposed deal if necessary.
“The guidance makes clear that the secretary of state will aim to take an initial decision on whether to intervene within 10 working days of formal notification of the merger to the competition authorities, or the transaction being brought to her attention,” Hancock told the Commons, as quoted by Sky News, adding that “no such formal notification has yet been received”.