Fox offers pledge on Sky News independence to clinch takeover bid

12 February, 2018, 17:44 | Author: Regina Silva

Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox has pledged to keep Sky News independent as it looks to assuage concerns related to its proposed acquisition of Sky (LON:SKY).

The US media giant agreed to buy the remaining stake in Sky in 2016, but has been unable to complete the deal thus far, with regulators concerned over too much media control being in the hands of one company.

21st Century Fox has proposed an independent editorial board for United Kingdom news channel Sky News as part of what it calls "firewall" remedies that it argues should help it seal its planned deal to take full control of European pay TV giant Sky.

Fox also reiterated a previous proposal for "a commitment to Sky-branded news services in the United Kingdom for at least five years with similar levels of investment".

Broadcaster 21st Century Fox has offered to bolster editorial independence at Sky News as it tries to win regulatory backing for its bid to take control of the United Kingdom broadcaster.

The move came after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently ruled that the deal was not in the public interest.

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This comes as Fox has spent over a year attempting to buy the 61% in Sky, which is controlled by the Murdoch Family Trust, which also controls News Corporation, the publisher of British newspapers including The Sun and The Times, that it does not now own.

Fox's proposals regarding Sky News were made in response to the list of possible remedies, and were released by the CMA.

The deal has also been complicated by Disney's offer to buy a major chunk of Fox, including its existing state in Sky.

If the deal proceeds as planned, the Murdoch family would control Fox and News Corp, the Sun and the Times newspapers in the UK. Media regulator Ofcom in an earlier step of the deal review had also proposed that Sky News should be protected to preserve its editorial independence.

The response came after the CMA recently ruled that if Fox's takeover of Sky "went ahead, as now proposed, it is likely to operate against the public interest", and set out a series of potential options, including insulating Sky News from Murdoch Family Trust. The CMA's final report on the takeover bid will be with Hancock by 1 May.

Political opponents of the Fox-Sky deal, led by Labour Party politician Ed Miliband, continued to argue it should not be allowed.

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