Disney makes offer for Sky News

Posted April 04, 2018

The UK's competition authority, the CMA, on Tuesday issued a new set of proposals from 21st Century Fox, which has been trying for months to give assurances to the British authorities, anxious by the U.S. giant's hand on an important part of the information sector.

Murdoch's plans have run into competition problems.

Sky News could be sold to Disney, regardless of whether the Walt Disney Company goes ahead with its purchase of Twenty-First Century Fox.

Initially, 21st Century Fox was an important opponent for the bid but later Sky News informed that Fox won't be the proper owner of the channel.

Disney owns ABC News and therefore could be seen as a good fit for Sky News. Under this scenario, funding for Sky News would be guaranteed for up to 15 years - five years longer than Fox had earlier pledged.

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"21st Century Fox (21CF) proposed new ring-fencing remedies which would effect the legal separation between Sky News and the rest of Sky, establishing Sky News as a distinct company within the Sky Group, with its own fully independent board and under the management control of the head of Sky News", it said.

Walt Disney Co. has offered to buy United Kingdom media outlet Sky News in an effort to assist 21st Century Fox's bid to acquire the European broadcast giant, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.

Analysts at Liberum said they think Fox's proposed remedies should be enough to overcome the CMA's concerns on news plurality.

"We offered this even though the record before the CMA shows that, over the course of almost 30 years as Sky's founding shareholder, neither Fox, nor the Murdoch Family Trust, have ever sought to influence the editorial direction of Sky News".

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.

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US broadcast Comcast is also trying to purchase Sky and has made a 22.1 billion-pound bid for the company.

The deal is being scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority. The principle reason behind this was broadcasting standards and plurality concerns.

The agency is mulling whether to recommend the Fox deal for Sky to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock for approval. The Murdoch-controlled Hollywood studio has proposed two new offers to British regulators to help get its $15B deal over the line.

The four said the promises did not go far enough, given Murdoch's record of influence.

"We are aware that a group of politicians that is opposed to the transaction is seeking to influence the CMA and is making a number of unsupported and fanciful assertions".

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