The Walt Disney Company has been warned it must made a bid for Sky within 28 days of its proposed purchase of 21st Century Fox's assets.
The UK Takeover Panel has ruled Disney must offer Sky shareholders £10.75 a share if competition authorities block Fox's takeover of the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own.
It means Disney will have to own 100 per cent of Sky if its £49 billion deal to buy a range of Fox's assets proceeds. Disney's takeover of Fox is expected to go through once a decision on the Fox/Sky has been reached.
In its opinion, the Panel said it "considers that securing control of Sky might reasonably be considered to be a significant purpose of Disney’s acquiring control of Fox," adding Disney would have to offer the same price that Fox has offered to buy the rest of Sky. "Each of Disney, Fox and Sky has accepted these rulings," it said.
In its own statement, Sky said it had noted the ruling and "at this stage, Sky shareholders are advised to take no further action. Further advice to Sky shareholders will be announced in due course."