Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Government clears way for Fox's Sky bid

Government clears way for Fox's Sky bid

Fox launched a bid to buy the remaining stake, valuing Sky at about $25 billion.

Specifically, the CMA warned that if the deal went ahead as proposed by 21CF it would likely operate against the public interest by leading to the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT), which controls Fox and News Corporation (News Corp), increasing its control over Sky, so that it would have too much control over news providers in the United Kingdom across all media platforms including TV, radio, online and newspapers.

The British government has cleared Comcast's proposed acquisition of Sky while making the 21st Century Fox offer for the European pay-TV giant contingent on the sale of Sky News.

The regulator again raised the possibility of "increased influence of the Murdoch Family Trust over public opinion and the UK's political agenda" should Fox win control of Sky News.

Comcast has submitted a higher bid for Sky, and British authorities want to ensure Fox divests the Sky News business if it completes the takeover.

Regulators in the United Kingdom have cleared separate bids for satellite TV operator Sky, setting up a showdown between Comcast and 21st Century Fox as to which will actually wind up with the asset.

Hancock will also offer a view on whether he will allow Comcast's 22 billion-pound ($30.7 billion) bid for Fox to proceed to the next stage.

"I am optimistic that we can achieve this goal, not least given the willingness 21st Century Fox has shown in developing these credible proposals".

Comcast's offer includes a guarantee to fund Sky News at current levels for 10 years and establish an independent editorial board.

'We now look forward to engaging with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and we are confident that we will reach a final decision clearing our transaction, ' Fox said in a statement.

In a statement, Disney said: "We welcome today's announcement from the secretary of state and are ready to engage in any discussions requested by the secretary of state".

"Were the Fox/Disney deal to fail it could leave Sky News isolated from Sky and owned by a foreign company with few news interests in the UK". Fox's pursuit has been held up over worries that it would give Murdoch, who also owns United Kingdom newspapers, too much influence over British media.

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