Rupert Murdoch offers to sell Sky News to Disney to appease regulator

Javier Stokes
April 4, 2018

The Murdoch-controlled Hollywood studio is interested to turn Sky News into a single legal entity that would be moved to Disney as soon as 21st Century Fox's possession of Sky has come to the end.

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulator provisionally ruled earlier this year that Murdoch's planned takeover was not in the public interest and that a deal would hand him too much power in swaying public opinion.

According to these new Fox concessions revealed by the CMA, the American group formally proposes to sell the Sky News streaming channel to the American giant of Disney entertainment.

The first - ring-fencing of Sky News - would involve the legal separation of Sky News, with all of Sky News's operations being transferred into a new subsidiary.

According to 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney Co. could acquire Sky News and this acquisition will help smooth its proposed $15-billion takeover of satcaster Sky past British regulators.

'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'.

Twenty-First Century retain a 39% stake in Sky and, subject to ultimately obtaining regulatory approval, remain focused on acquiring the remaining 61% of Sky.

Stephen Hawking's Funeral Held
Mike Meylan, a New Zealand mathematics professor visiting Cambridge University, brought his children to explain Hawking's genius. His 1998 A Brief History of Time is recognised globally as the scientist's seminal work on the origins of the universe.

Murdoch and his Fox executives have also offered "personal undertakings" not to influence, or attempt to influence, the editorial choices made by the head of Sky News, Fox said.

"The divestment of Sky News to Disney is separate from, and not conditional on, Disney's acquisition of Fox".

Disney would buy Sky News regardless of whether its proposed acquisition of Fox's assets proceeds. The Murdoch family's news outlets are now consumed by almost a third of the UK's population across TV, radio, online and newspapers.

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. It added: "As the regulatory process remains ongoing, shareholders are advised to take no action at this stage".

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".

"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 is meanwhile ramping up its Sky takeover efforts after USA cable giant Comcast offered more than £22 billion for the entire group in February.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER