In a takeover twist, Fox says Disney may buy Sky News
- Author: Eleanor Harrison Apr 04, 2018,
Apr 04, 2018, 0:59
The proposals are aimed at easing some of the regulatory concerns over the extent of Murdoch's influence on British media if his 21st Century Fox is cleared to buy the 61 percent of Sky it doesn't already own for 11.7 billion pounds ($16.4 billion).
Murdoch is hoping to buy the 61 percent of Sky he does not already own, however, there are widespread concerns that the deal will give him too much control over the United Kingdom news.
Both options revolve around Sky's news business.
Should Disney take Sky News out of the equation however then those concerns could be erased at a stroke, smoothing over a rocky road to the deals conclusion.
21 Century Fox said that Disney has expressed an interest in acquiring Sky News and adding it to its portfolio of channels, a move that would not rely on Disney's completion of its planned acquisition of 21 Century Fox's TV and film assets.
Under the proposed legal separation of Sky News from Sky, the news broadcaster would have its own fully independent board and would be under the management control of the head of Sky News. In fact, we believe that the enhanced firewall remedies we proposed to safeguard the editorial independence of Sky News addressed comprehensively and constructively the CMA's provisional concerns. The Murdoch family's news outlets are now consumed by almost a third of the UK's population across TV, radio, online and newspapers.
"We have proposed a set of solutions that address and resolve any and all questions or concerns that may have been raised by the transaction", Gerson Zweifach, Fox's general counsel, said in an emailed statement.
As the Sky deal remained in regulatory limbo, Fox separately agreed to sell a string of assets, including its 39 percent stake in Sky, to Disney, potentially taking Murdoch out of the Sky equation.
'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'.
The CMA will now review the proposals and is due to report back to British culture secretary Matt Hancock by May 1, who will make a final decision on the deal.
"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", the firm said. However, this offer is now competing with a proposal from the USA cable operator Comcast who put on the table in late February 12.50 pounds per share to take possession of Sky. "A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate", it added.