Disney could acquire Sky News in the UK to help smooth 21st Century Fox’s acquisition of British pay-TV platform Sky. The Murdoch-controlled Hollywood studio has proposed two new offers to British regulators to help get its $15B deal over the line.
It has offered to turn Sky News into a separate legal entity that would be transferred to Disney as soon as 21st Century Fox’s acquisition of Sky was complete, irrespective of whether Disney’s deal to purchase Fox goes through. In this case, the company has guaranteed to fund Sky News as it current levels for ten years.
A second offer is to turn Sky News separate legal entity with its own independent board and editorial independence that is continued to be owned by Sky but with funding guaranteed for 15 years.
Both offers have been made to attempt to get Fox’s offer to buy the 61% of Sky that it does not own past the Competition and Markets Authority.
“We have worked diligently with the CMA throughout its extensive review. In fact, we believe that the enhanced firewall remedies we proposed to safeguard the editorial independence of Sky News addressed comprehensively and constructively the CMA’s provisional concerns. These enhanced remedies went above and beyond what Ofcom, the expert, independent regulator on UK broadcasting, had stated would mitigate concerns around media plurality,” said 21st Century Fox in a statement.
“We are aware that a group of politicians that is opposed to the transaction is seeking to influence the CMA and is making a number of unsupported and fanciful assertions. If the CMA were to accept at face value these assertions and be dissatisfied with enhanced remedies that are a direct and reasonable response to concerns it had raised with us, we believe that this would compromise the integrity of a system which is supposed to be objective, evidenced-based and grounded on the application of established legal principles,” it noted.
A Sky statement added: “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,” it said.