Murdoch offers to sell Sky News to Disney to win pay-TV prize

Acquisition: Fox Proposes to Sell Sky News to Disney

Rupert Murdoch promises new safeguards for Sky News as he scrambles to save £11.7bn deal to buy all of Sky

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.

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

On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox said it could either legally separate Sky News from the rest of Sky, or it could sell Sky News to The Walt Disney Co.

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

Giant Fox from the Murdoch family has offered to divest Sky News, one of Disney's Sky channels, to get the go-ahead from British competition authorities who are investigating his desire to get 100% Sky, according to documents released Tuesday. They argue that Mr Murdoch and his family, who also control News Corp, owner of The Sun and The Times, as well as Talksport radio, have too much influence over the United Kingdom media market.

The Fox bid, pitched at £10.75 per Sky share, is significantly lower than the Comcast offer of £12.50.

The competition regulator is expected to offer its recommendation on Fox's bid for Sky by May 1.

More news: Egyptian president re-elected with 97% of vote

Sky said in a statement issued this morning that it believes both proposals "comprehensively address any plurality concerns the CMA may have" and would guarantee Sky News' future and editorial independence.

Fox said the proposed changes "went above and beyond" what Ofcom, the independent media regulator in the United Kingdom had "stated would mitigate concerns around media plurality".

"21st Century Fox's proposed remedies on Sky News should be enough to overcome the CMA concerns on news plurality over Fox's bid for Sky", said Ian Whittaker, an analyst at Liberum Capital, in a first reaction.

The group, which has a broadband arm serving 29 million United States customers, owns NBC and Universal Pictures and wants to seize more than 50 per cent of Sky.

In December, Fox agreed to a $52.4 billion stock offer from Walt Disney for its entertainment assets and global units, including its stake in Sky. Fox planned to fund the independent organization for 15 years, before they planned to fund it for a decade. A final decision on the transaction by Matt Hancock, Britain's culture secretary, is expected on June 13. But the statement of intent is important given cable group Comcast lodged a possible offer in February that beat Fox's bid for Sky by 16 percent.

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

Separately, Twenty-First Century Fox said that it has worked diligently with the CMA throughout its extensive review.

Latest News