15 Dec 2017
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21st Century Fox to fully acquire Sky

MUMBAI: US media conglomerate 21st Century Fox will fully acquire UK pay TV service provider Sky. An agreement has been reached on the terms of a recommended pre-conditional cash offer for the fully diluted share capital of Sky which 21st Century Fox and its affiliates do not already own.

The cash consideration implies a value of approximately £11.7 billion ($14.8 billion) for the fully diluted ordinary share capital of Sky (excluding the Sky shares already owned by 21st Century Fox and its affiliates).

Under the terms of the acquisition, Sky shareholders will be entitled to receive for each Sky share £10.75 in cash.

The price of £10.75 per Sky share represents:

  • a premium of approximately 40 per cent. to the closing price of £7.69 per Sky share on 6 December, 2016, being the last business day before the date on which an initial proposal was received from 21st Century Fox by Sky;
  • a premium of approximately 36 per cent. to the closing price of £7.90 per Sky share on December 8, 2016, being the last business day before the start of the offer period; and
  • a multiple of approximately 11.4 times Sky’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £2,178 million for the twelve month period ended June 30, 2016.

21st Century Fox currently anticipates that the acquisition will complete before the end of 2017.

Under the terms of the acquisition, if the effective date (as defined in the UK Announcement) has not occurred on or before 31 December 2017, Sky shareholders shall be entitled to receive a special dividend of 10 pence per Sky share, payable in 2018.

The price of £10.75 per Sky share shall be reduced to the extent that:

  • the dividend in respect of the six months ending December 31, 2017 exceeds 13.06 pence per Sky share; and
  • the dividend in respect of the year ending June 30, 2018 exceeds 21.8 pence per Sky share.

Sky will not pay any dividends in 2017.

The independent committee of Sky intends to recommend unanimously that unaffiliated Sky shareholders vote in favour of the acquisition.

“As the founding shareholder of Sky, we are proud to have participated in its growth and development. The strategic rationale for this combination is clear. It creates a global leader in content creation and distribution, enhances our sports and entertainment scale, and gives us unique and leading direct-to-consumer capabilities and technologies. It adds the strength of the Sky brand to our portfolio, including the Fox, National Geographic and Star brands,” 21st Century Fox said in a release.

“Sky is a creative, commercial, and consumer powerhouse delivering its own content to customers across all platforms. Sky is the #1 PayTV brand in all its key markets, with an exciting growth runway in each. The enhanced capabilities of the combined company will be underpinned by a more geographically diverse and stable revenue base. It will also create an improved balance between subscription, affiliate fee, advertising and content revenues. This combination creates an agile organisation that is equipped to better succeed in a global market,” the release added.

21st Century Fox entered into the Co-operation Agreement with Sky pursuant to which 21st Century Fox and Sky agreed to take certain steps to facilitate completion of the acquisition. The Co-operation Agreement provides for a £200 million break fee payable by 21st Century Fox in the event that regulatory approvals are not obtained prior to the longstop date described in the agreement.