Disney Offers to Buy Sky News As Murdoch Attempts Sky Takeover

Disney Offers to Buy Sky News As Murdoch Attempts Sky Takeover

Disney Offers to Buy Sky News As Murdoch Attempts Sky Takeover

The offer comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) - a United Kingdom government body responsible for strengthening business competition - ruled that Murdoch's proposed £11.7bn acquisition of Sky would not be in the public interest.

In an attempt to stave off CMA concerns, an offer has been tabled that would see Disney buy Sky News to add to its portfolio of TV channels.

Rupert Murdoch ratcheted up the pressure on Britain to approve his $15 billion-plus bid for pay-TV group Sky by offering to sell or legally separate Sky News, aiming to head off objections the deal could give him too much political influence.

Money-losing Sky News is the last regulatory hurdle in 87-year-old Murdoch's long campaign to buy Sky, which has grown from its United Kingdom beginnings to become Europe's biggest pay-TV group. And it is competing against Comcast, the US cable giant that plans to make its own bid for control of Sky.

The regulator is expected to consider both proposals as it explores the latest remedies and what they mean for its stance on the deal.

In a statement on Tuesday, Sky said it believes that the two remedy proposals brought forward by Fox to the CMA "comprehensively address" any concerns the watchdog may have and "would guarantee the long-term future of Sky News and its ongoing editorial independence".

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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"They know full well that it isn't a top priority of Disney to own Sky News".

In December, Disney made its own bid for Fox assets including Sky. Disney also said it would "agree to sustain the operating capital of Sky News and maintain its editorial independence".

That could remove a major objection from the CMA, allowing Fox to acquire the 61% of Sky it doesn't already own.

The authority has until May 1 to make a final recommendation to the United Kingdom government, which then must decide whether to back the Fox-Sky deal, approve it with conditions or reject it. It now owns 39 percent of Sky. In this case, the company has guaranteed to fund Sky News as it current levels for ten years.

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

"The fact that Disney has agreed this today suggests that the next thing to expect is a revised bid from Fox/Disney for Sky, to match or beat Comcast's offer".

Fox said: "We have worked diligently with the CMA throughout its extensive review".

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