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Sky News could be sold to Disney under new plan

04 April 2018

Instead, the offer is meant to help Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox buy full control of Sky News' parent company, the broadcaster Sky, a deal that has languished amid concern here in Britain that Murdoch could assume too much control over the country's media. In fact, we believe that the enhanced firewall remedies we proposed to safeguard the editorial independence of Sky News addressed comprehensively and constructively the CMA's provisional concerns.

One of these will see Disney making an offer to buy Sky News from Fox outright, thus potentially alleviating worries that the respected United Kingdom news channel may adopt a Fox News-style modus operandi post acquisition.

Sky Italia and Mediaset announced a content and distribution deal on Friday, paving the way for a collaboration between the two media groups.

Murdoch's plans have run into competition problems.

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Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox said on Tuesday that Walt Disney Co was interested in buying Sky News. His existing properties, including the newspapers The Sun and The Times of London, reach a third of British consumers.

"The big thing we still don't know is what Comcast are going to do about their potential offer for Sky, which in the short term at least has created a market in Sky shares which is far above the price that 21st Century Fox has offered", he explained.

The deal is being scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority.

The first solution offered is to legally separate Sky News from the rest of Sky, establishing the service 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.

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The CMA had also stated in January that its media plurality concerns would fall away on completion of Disney's Fox takeover.

Disney has separately agreed a $66billion deal to acquire Fox's entertainment assets - including its stake in Sky, the pay-TV group Mr Murdoch launched in 1989 - although the path to completing that transaction has been stymied by the regulatory delay in the Fox-Sky deal.

USA broadcast Comcast is also trying to purchase Sky and has made a 22.1 billion-pound bid for the company. His readiness to buy Sky News therefore signals a clear commitment to owning Sky. The final decision on the deal will come from United Kingdom culture secretary Matt Hancock.

It provisionally ruled that Mr Murdoch would have too much influence over public opinion if the deal went ahead as planned.

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Putting forward the proposal, Fox said they worked diligently with the CMA throughout its extensive review.

Sky News could be sold to Disney under new plan