Fox says Disney may buy Sky News in fresh takeover twist
04 April, 2018, 00:59 | Author: Samuel Sharp
Fox said the proposals would protect Sky News' independence and that Disney has expressed an interest in buying SkyNews "whether or not" its own separate proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox proceeds - Disney is trying to take over many parts of Fox, notably its movie and television studios, which as well as its USA sports network.
The news came in a latest filing published by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Tuesday, in which Fox made the latest offers to seal the deal.
The proposed legal separation of Sky News would include the creation of a new limited company with its own "fully independent" board, while Fox said Mr Murdoch and his son James, Fox's chief executive, would give "personal undertakings" not to interfere with the channel's editorial decisions.
In a statement, Disney added: "To secure CMA approval Fox has proposed to the CMA that it would divest Sky News to Disney as a condition of Fox's acquisition of the remainder of Sky. if Fox was cleared to buy Sky, Disney would buy Sky News and agree to sustain the operating capital of Sky News and maintain its editorial independence".
In a statement Sky said the proposals would "comprehensively address any plurality concerns the CMA may have, and would guarantee the long-term future of Sky News and its ongoing editorial independence".
21st Century Fox has said it would sell off Sky News to Disney or ring-fence it to allay regulatory concerns over its proposed acquisition of the part of Sky it doesn't already own.
Fox agreed in December 2016 to buy the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own, but the deal has been repeatedly delayed by the United Kingdom government and regulators, allowing Comcast to gate crash the deal in February.
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.
"In the wider picture, Disney are more focused on the entertainment side of the business whereas Fox are more news focused", he told City A.M.
Fox is continuing to work with United Kingdom regulators on finalizing the deal for Sky while also fending off a rival bid from Comcast. The Murdoch family already own News UK, the owner of the Times and the Sun.
"The fact that Disney has agreed to this today suggests that the next thing to expect is a revised bid from Fox/Disney for Sky, to match or beat Comcast's offer". The CMA found the deal would not be against the public interest for broadcasting standards. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) unveiled a possible £22.1bn (US$31bn) all-cash offer to buy Sky.
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