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Regulator orders rare auction for Sky this weekend

By Sheetal Sukhija, Bangkok News
20 Sep 2018, 23:55 GMT+10

LONDON, U.K. - In a bid to resolve a bidding war that started in December 2016, now, the Takeover Panel has intervened and has ordered a rare auction over control of satellite broadcaster Sky.

In the auction set to be held this weekend, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox and rival Comcast must table new bids, as they continue their battle over Sky. 

According to the Takeover Panel, the two-day auction will allow Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and its rival bidder U.S. media conglomerate Comcast to make new bids for the broadcaster starting Friday night. 

The panel has stated that the eventual winner will be announced by 7 am next Monday.

So far, both Fox and Comcast have made offers for Sky and both the companies have left the option of bidding higher open.

Murdoch's Fox, which already owns 39 percent stake in the business, first made the offer of 10.75 pounds for ever share that Fox did not already own on December 15, 2016.

The Fox bid however prompted an investigation into whether the media magnate should be allowed to take full control.

Earlier this year, Comcast gatecrashed Murdoch's bid, offering 12.50 a share in February, before the battle intensified months later. 

In July this year, Fox upped its offer to 14 pounds.

Comcast hit back with an offer of 14.75 pounds.

In a bid to ease the war over Sky ownership, the Takeover Panel has now decided the battle must be brought to an end.

It said that it was setting up an auction “in order to provide an orderly framework for the resolution of this competitive situation."

According to the panel, there will be a maximum of three rounds of bids, and all must be cash-only offers.

Fox, which is currently the lower bidder, will go first. 

Its rival, Comcast will be allowed to go next, and there can then be a third round.

Both bidders will be allowed to slap in new offers, but if only one party puts in a third round bid.

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