Photo: Daniel LEal-Olivas/AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Panel on Takeovers and Mergers announced Thursday that the Walt Disney Company, which is currently pursuing a bid to take over 21st Century Fox' s entertainment assets in the United States, will be forced to submit a bid for Sky Broadcasting should the competition authority block Fox's bid for plurality concerns.

Why it matters: Disney would have to submit a bid for Sky for at least 10.75 pounds per share upon completion of its $52 billion merger with 21st Century Fox — the same price Fox offered when initially pursuing the merger in 2016. This means that Sky shareholders may not anticipate a higher bid from Disney, but assures them they have a bidder of equal value if the competition authority blocks Fox's efforts.

In a statement, 21CF says it's "21CF remains committed to its recommended cash offer for Sky announced on 15th December 2016."

  • The panel notes that all three parties have agreed to these terms.
  • The panel says Disney needs to submit a bid for the broadcaster because it would acquire a 39% stake of Sky News through its acquisition of Fox, suggesting it doesn't want to keep ownership divided of its popular broadcaster.

Note: This doesn't take into account whether Comcast Corporation formalizes a bid in time to for Sky as well. Comcast says their bid would be significantly higher than Fox's original bid. Should the deal fall through and Disney is force to submit a bid, they could face some stiff competition for the broadcaster from Comcast.

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Trump commutes Roger Stone's sentence

Roger Stone arriving at his sentencing hearing on Feb. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the sentence of his longtime associate Roger Stone, according to two senior administration officials. Stone in February was sentenced to 40 months in prison for crimes including obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress.

Why it matters: The controversial move brings an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars. He had been scheduled to report to prison on July 14.

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Data: COVID Tracking Project and state health department data compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti and Naema Ahmed/Axios

13 states this week surpassed records set just last week for their highest number of coronavirus infections in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project and state health department data. 16 states in total reported new highs.

The big picture: The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't just due to increased testing — particularly where the number of cases has grown fastest over the last month, Axios' Andrew Witherspoon and Caitlin Owens report.

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