It is the first auction showdown between competing suitors set by Britain’s Takeover Panel since 2008.
With a Saturday deadline looming in the long-running battle between 21st Century Fox and Comcast for European pay TV giant Sky, Britain’s takeover regulator on Thursday unveiled details of the auction process set to bring about a final decision.
The so-called Takeover Panel unveiled the process and rules of the formal auction, which would be the first such showdown of suitors since 2008 if none of the two suitors bows out at the last minute.
Under the previous timetable for the sale process, both suitors have so far had until Saturday at 5 p.m. London time to sweeten their offers for Sky, submit a “best and final” offer or bow out of the process. The Takeover Panel said Thursday though that if both sides stay in the running as of 5 p.m. London time on Friday, which is seen as likely at this stage, an auction with up to three rounds of cash bids will take place on Saturday.
“The auction procedure will consist of a maximum of three rounds, which will all take place on 22 September 2018,” the Takeover Panel said. “In the first round, only the offeror with the lowest offer as at the commencement of the auction (or, in the event of both offers being at the same price, the last offeror to revise) may make an increased bid. In the second round, only the offeror that was not eligible to make a bid in the first round may make an increased bid (and it may do so even if no increased bid was made in the first round by the other offeror). If the auction procedure has not concluded after the second round (which it will if no increased bid is made in the second round), there
will be a final round, in which both offerors may make an increased bid.”
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