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In a takeover twist, Fox says Disney may buy Sky News
04 April 2018, 01:12 | Gordon Grant
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21st Century Fox said the Walt Disney Company is interested in buying United Kingdom -based Sky News regardless of whether its $52.4 billion deal for certain Fox assets goes through. Murdoch previously planned to buy the 61 percent of Sky that Fox doesn't own to sell Fox's media businesses to Disney.
Disney would still have to receive regulatory approval if it agrees to buy Sky News.
To ease concerns that Murdoch, who already owns The Times and The Sun newspapers in the United Kingdom as well as radio operations, would have too much influence over the United Kingdom media market, Disney has now "expressed interest" in buying the news network.
The competition watchdog is expected to give its verdict on the Fox's Sky bid by May 1, leaving the final decision on whether to approve the deal to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock by mid-June. His existing properties, including the newspapers The Sun and The Times of London, reach a third of British consumers.
Another twist in the tale came when America's Comcast, which owns NBC and Universal, unveiled a higher £22.5 billion offer for Sky in February, setting up a race between the two media empires as they both sought to get their hands on the company set up in 1989 by Mr Murdoch.
The company, however, needs to persuade another regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and the government.
The CMA had also stated in January that its media plurality concerns would fall away on completion of Disney's Fox takeover.
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Murdoch's company have made several adjustments to the deal, the newest stating that Sky News will be independent.
At the same time however, Disney announced last December that it would buy Fox for $52.4-billion. Sky has been a consistent innovator in its use of technology to deliver a fantastic viewing experience and has a proud record of investment in news and programming. His readiness to buy Sky News therefore signals a clear commitment to owning Sky.
"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.
Liberum added: "The news that Sky Italia seems to have settled its long-running fight with Mediaset in the Italian pay-TV market also makes Sky more valuable to a bidder, given it makes the prospects in Italy more attractive".
Critics of the deal have said that the independent board could still be influenced by the Murdoch family.
A Statement from 21st Century Fox said: "We have worked diligently with the CMA throughout its extensive review".
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