Fox/Comcast Battle For Sky May Hit Brexit Bump As UK Culture Secretary Gets New Role


We possibly spoke too soon. The battle between 21st Century Fox and Comcast for ownership of Sky could have hit a bump in the road as a result of Boris Johnson’s resignation as UK Foreign Secretary.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, who has overseen the takeover from a political level, has been named Health Secretary in Theresa May’s government. He replaces Jeremy Hunt, who was named Foreign Secretary after Johnson resigned over the PM’s Brexit strategy earlier today. (In an interesting example of the revolving door of British politics, Hunt was the Culture Minister back in 2010 who oversaw then-News Corp’s ultimately failed bid for the then-BSkyB and had been in the spotlight for his supposed close ties to the Murdochs.)

Hancock was thought to be on the brink of finally giving Rupert Murdoch’s group the ultimate greenlight to buy the 61% of the European pay-TV firm that it currently does not own.

Hancock has been replaced as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport by attorney general Jeremy Wright QC MP, a man with little to no experience in the media sector.

This means a decision could well be delayed in light of the turmoil within the Conservative government. The consultation process for these undertakings closed last week and as expected to be made public in the next few days, before Johnson’s departure led to the government shake-up.

However, the Brexit turmoil is unlikely to stop Comcast lodging a formal $31B bid for Sky this week, which itself could lead to a major bidding war for the Bulletproof broadcaster between the Brian Roberts-run firm and Rupert Murdoch’s studio.

This week just got a little bit longer for all parties.

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