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Disney may buy Sky News to ease Rupert Murdoch's £11.7bn takeover
04 April 2018, 01:12 | Melanie Burgess
CREDIT Courtesy of Sky
Rupert Murdoch's Fox has been stuck in regulatory limbo since late 2016, when the 39 percent shareholder in Sky launched an 11.7 billion pound ($16.5 billion) offer for the rest of the company.
By offering to purchase Sky News as a separate entity, the Walt Disney Company should allay regulatory concerns by taking Sky's news outlet from Murdoch's hands.
The Fox statement went on to outline its proposed remedies: "Alternatively, The Walt Disney Company has expressed an interest in acquiring Sky News, with a view to adding it to Disney's existing portfolio of television channels, whether or not Disney's proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox proceeds".
Fox, which now owns 39% of Sky, in December 2016 launched a bid to take full control of the British company. The Murdoch family already own News UK, the owner of the Times and the Sun.
The company, however, needs to persuade another regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and the government. Fox had previously proposed giving Sky News its own editorial board and a 10-year funding guarantee.
Fox said its new concessions went beyond the steps that Britain's media regulator Ofcom said would mitigate concerns about Murdoch's influence.
Fox had already pledged to ensure the independence of Sky News.
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Much of its decision to propose buying Sky News lies in a desire to eventually own Sky, which has 23 million customers and holds lucrative broadcast rights to the English Premier League and other professional soccer leagues.
The Fox-owned Murdoch family already owns two daily newspapers in the United Kingdom via News Corp, The Times and The Sun.
The agency is mulling whether to recommend the Fox deal for Sky to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock for approval.
Sky, which operates in seven European countries, is a smaller version of what American media giants are trying to become: owners of TV and internet "pipes" as well as the programming that flows through them.
Liberum added: "The news that Sky Italia seems to have settled its long-running fight with Mediaset in the Italian pay-TV market also makes Sky more valuable to a bidder, given it makes the prospects in Italy more attractive".
Additionally, Twenty-First Century Fox offered personal undertakings given by Twenty-First Century Fox's Executive Chairmen and its chief executive officer not to influence or attempt to influence the editorial choices made by the Head of Sky News.
"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.
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