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Fox proposes selling Sky News to Disney

Fox proposes selling Sky News to Disney

In a statement on Tuesday, Sky said it believes that the two remedy proposals brought forward by Fox to the CMA "comprehensively address" any concerns the watchdog may have and "would guarantee the long-term future of Sky News and its ongoing editorial independence".

After almost a decade of tribulations regarding Rupert Murdoch's cherished ambition to gain 100% control of a company in which he holds a 39.1% stake, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) provisionally found on 23 January 2018 that Fox taking full control of Sky was not in the public interest due to media plurality concerns.

A late offer by Disney to purchase Sky News appears to have eliminated one of the last remaining obstacles to an £11.7bn takeover of Sky by Murdoch's21st Century Fox.

The other option tabled to the CMA would see 21 Century Fox set up Newco as a new Sky subsidiary after its completion of the Sky takeover. "If the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport agrees, and Fox acquires Sky, Disney would buy Sky News and agree to sustain the operating capital of Sky News and maintain its editorial independence".

"Under this proposal, Sky News would operate entirely independently with guaranteed funding by 21CF for 15 years".

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has offered to sell Sky's news channel to Disney in the hope of winning political approval for its proposed £18.5bn takeover of the United Kingdom broadcaster.

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"These enhanced remedies went above and beyond what Ofcom, the expert, independent regulator on United Kingdom broadcasting, had stated would mitigate concerns around media plurality".

Additionally, Twenty-First Century Fox offered personal undertakings given by Twenty-First Century Fox's Executive Chairmen and its chief executive officer not to influence or attempt to influence the editorial choices made by the Head of Sky News.

That in turn could ease Disney's proposed US$66bn deal to take over a slew of Fox assets including Sky, although NBC owner Comcast has also entered the race to buy the UK-based pay operator. The Murdoch family already own News UK, the owner of the Times and the Sun.

"More importantly, we think the news and today's comments from Sky point to a revised bid from Fox/Disney to trump Comcast's 1250p bid", they said.

Fox said on Tuesday a group of politicians was seeking to influence the CMA, adding they were making "a number of unsupported and fanciful assertions".

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf added that uncertainty around Comcast's potential offer had created a market for Sky shares.

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