Comcast deal given go-ahead, Fox approved on condition of Sky News sale
Comcast deal given go-ahead, Fox approved on condition of Sky News sale
Murdoch bid for Sky to go ahead with sale of Sky News
06 June, 2018, 06:41
Britain's government said Tuesday an £11.7 billion bid from Rupert Murdoch's Fox to take over Sky could only be approved if Sky News is sold off to maintain a diverse broadcasting landscape.
The CMA report sets out some draft terms for such a divestment, and Fox has written to me to offer undertakings on effectively the same terms.
The culture secretary Matt Hancock said on Tuesday that in order to address media plurality concerns flagged by the Competition and Markets Authority, he favours "divesting Sky News to a suitable third party".
Matt Hancock told MPs he would consult over the next 15 days to finalise the details of the proposed remedy to satisfy concerns the Murdoch Family Trust would have too much influence over United Kingdom media if Fox was to buy Sky.
The decision is a boost for Murdoch's second attempt to buy Sky, now a key part of a transcontinental contest for scale between Walt Disney Co. and Comcast.
Rupert Murdoch faces a 22 billion pound ($29.3 billion) fight with USA cable company Comcast for European pay-TV company Sky after Britain cleared his bid providing he sells off its TV news business.
"As a result, I have asked my officials to begin immediate discussions with the parties to finalise the details with a view to agreeing an acceptable form of the remedy, so we can all be confident Sky News can be divested in a way that works for the long term".
Sky shares have been trading above both bids since Comcast made its offer as investors anticipate a renewed push with a higher price from one or both suitors.
Mr Hancock said he needed to be confident that the final undertakings ensured the continuation of Sky News's long-term financial viability, and that it could continue to operate as a major UK-based news provider making independent editorial decisions.
Fox agreed in December to sell its film and TV studios, cable channels including FX and National Geographic and other assets to Disney in an all-stock deal.
In a provisional ruling in January, U.K. regulators said the Fox-Sky deal should be blocked.
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