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Comcast extends deadline for Sky shareholders

Comcast has extended its deadline for Sky shareholders to accept its £14.75 (€16.50) a share offer for the pay TV operator after receiving acceptances from fewer than 1% of holders of ordinary shares.

Comcast has now extended the closing date for acceptances until September 12.

Comcast said shareholders who had not yet accepted the deadline should do so as soon as possible.

The US cable and media giant had received acceptances for shareholders representing only 3,843,977 shares by the deadline of 13:00 UK time yesterday, meaning that it has secured acceptances representing only about 0.21% of ordinary shares.

Sky shareholders are likely to await the next move from Comcast’s rival for Sky, 21st Century Fox, which holds a 39% stake in the company, before making any further move.

Comcast’s move comes two weeks after Fox posted its £14 a share offer for the 61% of Sky it does not already own to shareholders without topping the US company’s superior offer.

As a result of its battle with Comcast for control of the company, Fox now intends to implement its acquisition via a straightforward public takeover rather than a scheme of arrangement with Sky, as was previously the case.

Under UK rules, the pair have until September 22 to submit final bids for the company. As a result of Fox’s ongoing sale of its entertainment assets to Disney, the latter’s consent is required for any increase in Fox’s bid for Sky. Disney is also obliged to make the same bid for the shares in the pay TV operator that Fox does not already control if the Disney-Fox deal is completed without Fox acquiring the balance of Sky’s shares.