Finance

Disney could buy Sky News to ease concerns over Fox's Sky takeover

Disney could buy Sky News to ease concerns over Fox's Sky takeover”

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has come up with two proposals it thinks will alleviate a United Kingdom regulator's concern about the company's bid to purchase European broadcaster Sky.

Sky has also proposed a softer option which is the "legal separation and comprehensive ringfencing" of Sky News within Sky.

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

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is now scrutinising the deal, which would see Fox, which now controls 39 per cent of Sky, take full control of the company.

Critics have voiced concern that the deal would give the Murdoch family, which controls Fox, too much influence over Sky News. Indeed, popular British news outlets owned by the Murdoch family include newspapers the Sun, the Time and the Sunday Times.

Their view appeared vindicated when Comcast said it would pay 12.50 pounds a share to buy Sky, although it has not yet made a formal bid.

The company, however, needs to persuade another regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and the government.

Sky also expressed in a separate statement its confidence that the proposals will tackle the regulator's fears, saying: "Sky believes 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 company said the proposed changes "went above and beyond what Ofcom, the expert, independent regulator on United Kingdom broadcasting, had stated would mitigate concerns around media plurality".

Fox is trying to acquire the 61 percent of Sky not already under its control.

The fate of Sky News is at the heart of the questions posed by the British guardian of competition, the CMA, who ruled that the operation was "not in the public interest" given fears about the plurality of media, in provisional conclusions issued in January.

Whatever bit of Sky that Fox owns by the time the takeover goes through will be bought by Disney.

"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. It now owns 39 percent of Sky. Fox now owns more than a third of Sky's shares and has bid $16.5 billion for the remaining stake in the company.

Sky now trades higher than the Comcast proposal, indicating that investors are expecting a bidding war.

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



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