The takeover referee of the City may likely urge Comcast and Disney to pay a much larger sum of money for Sky as their bidding war over the Murdoch empire in the United States of America intensifies.
The Takeover Panel is closely watching the unprecedented situation and has the powers to demand much more. The 21st Century Fox is controlled by Murdoch. It is selling the majority of its assets which includes its 39 percent stake in Sky.
In a blow to Comcast, this week, Walt Disney increased its offer in the bidding war for the 21st Century Fox. The company raised its offer to $71.3 billion in cash and stock — an increase of 36 percent its initial bid that amounted to $52.4 billion. The new offer is also a premium of nine percent over the $65 billion all-cash offer of Comcast.
On the other hand, Comcast is still considering whether to answer with an even larger amount of debt-fuelled bid.
Meanwhile, £12.50 per share or £22bn was offered by Comcast, for Sky. It is required to publish its formal offer to shareholders by the 13th of July. 18 months ago, Fox offered a £10.75 per share deal for the full control of Sky. It has yet to hit back and would require the approval of Disney to do so, if their deal in the United States is able to proceed.
The raised prices that are under discussion for the collection of the assets of Fox mean that the panel could ask for a higher price for Sky from either of the two sides if it believes that a US deal indicates one.
So far, Disney has been careful to refer only to the price that was originally proposed by Fox. However, the shares have now exceeded £14. Bruno Burki, an analyst from United First, said that the panel is not expected to make a ruling until there is a definitive agreement in the United States, however, and that a bidding war may still take place regardless of the situation.