Adviser says U.S. close to Mexico-only NAFTA deal, Canada unmoved

[:de]SKY’S future is set to be decided this weekend when its two American suitors go head-to-head in a quick-fire auction.

The Takeover Panel said film and TV group 21st Century Fox and cable giant Comcast would take part in a three-round fight for control of the satellite broadcaster tomorrow if neither party has admitted defeat by 5pm today.

The panel will announce the result «as soon as practicable», with the possibility both parties could bid identical sums.

The rarely-used process — only a handful of takeovers have been decided this way since the turn of the century including Tata Steel’s 2007 victory over Brazil’s CSN for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus — will bring to an end one of Britain’s longest-running bid dramas.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox began it by bidding £10.75-a-share in December 2016 for the 61 per cent it did not already own in Sky, home to fantasy drama Game Of Thrones. But the proposed deal was held up by regulatory scrutiny over whether it would give him too much control over UK news providers.

Comcast gatecrashed Murdoch’s bid in February this year when it signalled a £12.50 approach valuing Sky at just over £22billion. Fox tabled a £24.5billion offer in July, but this was immediately trumped by Comcast’s £14.75-a-share bid, valuing Sky at £26billion.

Fox, as the party going into the auction with the lowest offer, would be the only party allowed to increase their bid in the first round, while the bidder excluded from the first round, currently Comcast, would be the sole party allowed to up the ante in the second round.

If no clear winner has emerged at that point, both parties will be allowed to raise the sakes in a final round, concluding on Saturday evening. Comcast had been involved in a bid battle with Disney for a number of Fox’s entertainment assets including The Simpsons and the its Hollywood film studio, but dropped out after Disney upped its offer to $71.3billion (£54billion) to focus on Sky.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst, Laith Khalaf, said: «It’s anyone’s guess which media giant will walk away with Sky, and at what price.» Sky shares closed unchanged at 1580p.[:ru]SKY’S future is set to be decided this weekend when its two American suitors go head-to-head in a quick-fire auction.

The Takeover Panel said film and TV group 21st Century Fox and cable giant Comcast would take part in a three-round fight for control of the satellite broadcaster tomorrow if neither party has admitted defeat by 5pm today.

The panel will announce the result «as soon as practicable», with the possibility both parties could bid identical sums.

The rarely-used process — only a handful of takeovers have been decided this way since the turn of the century including Tata Steel’s 2007 victory over Brazil’s CSN for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus — will bring to an end one of Britain’s longest-running bid dramas.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox began it by bidding £10.75-a-share in December 2016 for the 61 per cent it did not already own in Sky, home to fantasy drama Game Of Thrones. But the proposed deal was held up by regulatory scrutiny over whether it would give him too much control over UK news providers.

Comcast gatecrashed Murdoch’s bid in February this year when it signalled a £12.50 approach valuing Sky at just over £22billion. Fox tabled a £24.5billion offer in July, but this was immediately trumped by Comcast’s £14.75-a-share bid, valuing Sky at £26billion.

Fox, as the party going into the auction with the lowest offer, would be the only party allowed to increase their bid in the first round, while the bidder excluded from the first round, currently Comcast, would be the sole party allowed to up the ante in the second round.

If no clear winner has emerged at that point, both parties will be allowed to raise the sakes in a final round, concluding on Saturday evening. Comcast had been involved in a bid battle with Disney for a number of Fox’s entertainment assets including The Simpsons and the its Hollywood film studio, but dropped out after Disney upped its offer to $71.3billion (£54billion) to focus on Sky.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst, Laith Khalaf, said: «It’s anyone’s guess which media giant will walk away with Sky, and at what price.» Sky shares closed unchanged at 1580p.[:en]SKY’S future is set to be decided this weekend when its two American suitors go head-to-head in a quick-fire auction.

The Takeover Panel said film and TV group 21st Century Fox and cable giant Comcast would take part in a three-round fight for control of the satellite broadcaster tomorrow if neither party has admitted defeat by 5pm today.

The panel will announce the result «as soon as practicable», with the possibility both parties could bid identical sums.

The rarely-used process — only a handful of takeovers have been decided this way since the turn of the century including Tata Steel’s 2007 victory over Brazil’s CSN for Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus — will bring to an end one of Britain’s longest-running bid dramas.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox began it by bidding £10.75-a-share in December 2016 for the 61 per cent it did not already own in Sky, home to fantasy drama Game Of Thrones. But the proposed deal was held up by regulatory scrutiny over whether it would give him too much control over UK news providers.

Comcast gatecrashed Murdoch’s bid in February this year when it signalled a £12.50 approach valuing Sky at just over £22billion. Fox tabled a £24.5billion offer in July, but this was immediately trumped by Comcast’s £14.75-a-share bid, valuing Sky at £26billion.

Fox, as the party going into the auction with the lowest offer, would be the only party allowed to increase their bid in the first round, while the bidder excluded from the first round, currently Comcast, would be the sole party allowed to up the ante in the second round.

If no clear winner has emerged at that point, both parties will be allowed to raise the sakes in a final round, concluding on Saturday evening. Comcast had been involved in a bid battle with Disney for a number of Fox’s entertainment assets including The Simpsons and the its Hollywood film studio, but dropped out after Disney upped its offer to $71.3billion (£54billion) to focus on Sky.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst, Laith Khalaf, said: «It’s anyone’s guess which media giant will walk away with Sky, and at what price.» Sky shares closed unchanged at 1580p.[:fr]WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The United States is getting “very, very close” to having to move forward on its trade deal with Mexico without Canada, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Friday.There is just over a week to go before a U.S.-imposed Oct. 1 deadline to publish the text of a deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the United States and Canada have still not agreed on terms, Hassett told Fox News Channel.

“We’re still talking to Canada, and we’re getting very, very close to the deadline where we’re going to have to move ahead with Mexico all by themselves,” said Hassett, who chairs the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Washington reached a bilateral trade deal with Mexico in late August and is threatening to exclude Canada if need be.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland left Washington on Thursday after two days of inconclusive talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

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Asked for a reaction to Hassett’s comments, a Freeland spokesman pointed to her repeated comments that Canada “will not be driven by a deadline but by reaching a good deal”.

Investor concerns over the future of the 1994 pact, which underscores $1.2 trillion in annual trade, have regularly hurt stock markets in all three countries, whose economies are highly integrated.

A senior White House official on Friday said he hoped Canada would agree to join the U.S.-Mexico trade deal by the end of the month, adding he thought U.S. lawmakers would support a bilateral deal with Mexico if that did not happen.

But Canada says it does not believe U.S. President Trump has the power to unilaterally turn NAFTA into a two-nation agreement. U.S. business groups and some senior Democrats say NAFTA must be preserved as a trilateral grouping.

Access to Canada’s dairy market, trade dispute settlement panels and U.S. demands for the ability to impose auto tariffs on its northern neighbor remain sticking points. [nL2N1W61OY]

“I’m a little surprised that the Canadians haven’t signed up yet,” Hassett said.

“I worry that politics in Canada is trumping common sense because there’s a very good deal that was designed by Mexico and the U.S. to appeal to Canada. And they’re not signing up and it’s got everybody over here a little bit puzzled.”

Freeland and Lighthizer are due in New York next week for the United Nations General Assembly, but it was unclear if they would meet.[:]

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