Murdoch's Fox could separate Sky News to satisfy UK regulator on takeover

Murdoch's Fox could separate Sky News to satisfy UK regulator on takeover

Murdoch's Fox could separate Sky News to satisfy UK regulator on takeover

However, this offer is now competing with a proposal from the USA cable operator Comcast who put on the table in late February 12.50 pounds per share to take possession of Sky.

In a statement today, Fox has also said that Disney had "expressed an interest in acquiring Sky News" with a view to adding it to its existing portfolio of television channels.

Disney boss Bob Iger is unlikely to be interested in the small, unprofitable news channel on its own. Under this proposal, Sky News would operate entirely independently with guaranteed funding by 21CF for 15 years.

Sky shares were up 1 percent to 13.10 pounds at 0951 BST on April 3. They are ready to separate Sky news and establish an independent board.

This would be similar to the legal separation a year ago of BT and Openreach, which owns its phone and broadband cable networks.

In a bid to alleviate the CMA's concerns, Fox has recommended either a legal separation and ringfencing of Sky News or selling the news outlet to Disney. "We look forward to concluding this acquisition - finally - in a timely and expeditious manner". Unlike Murdoch, Disney has no meaningful news business in Britain and would therefore pose less of a concern to regulators.

Sky said it believed that both of these remedy proposals comprehensively address any plurality concerns the CMA may have, and would guarantee the long-term future of Sky News and its ongoing editorial independence.

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The CMA in January said it had provisionally found that Fox taking full ownership of Sky is not in the public interest due to media plurality concerns.

Rupert Murdoch and his son James, Fox's chief executive, would give "personal undertakings" not to interfere with the channel's editorial decisions. Critics include politicians such as Ed Miliband, Vince Cable and Kenneth Clarke.

Money-losing Sky News is the last regulatory hurdle in 87-year-old Murdoch's long campaign to buy Sky, which has grown from its United Kingdom beginnings to become Europe's biggest pay-TV group.

Announcing the two remedies, Fox said: "We have worked diligently with the CMA throughout its extensive review".

Disney would still have to receive regulatory approval if it agrees to buy Sky News. For decades, Murdoch has been criticized by liberal politicians for having too much control over the United Kingdom media scene and using his influence to champion conservative causes.

Comcast and its chief executive Brian Roberts will be monitoring the interactions between Fox, Disney and United Kingdom regulators.

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