UK culture secretary to offer verdict on Fox bid for Sky

Minister: Fox’s Sky bid to be cleared if plan to divest Sky News is agreed

Murdoch bid for Sky to go ahead with sale of Sky News

Regulators had been concerned that ownership of Sky News would give Rupert Murdoch and his family too much influence over United Kingdom media. It can proceed but only if Sky News is first spun off.

Specifically, the CMA warned that if the deal went ahead as proposed by 21CF it would likely operate against the public interest by leading to the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT), which controls Fox and News Corporation (News Corp), increasing its control over Sky, so that it would have too much control over news providers in the United Kingdom across all media platforms including TV, radio, online and newspapers.

Regarding Comcast's latest bid for Sky, the Secretary said this did not raise any public interest concerns and that he does not intend to stop any possible transaction.

Meanwhile Comcast - another United States media giant - has gate-crashed the party with a rival bid to buy Sky.

If the government gives Fox the go-ahead to buy Sky, Rupert Murdoch faces another fight before he wins the prize.

21st Century Fox will be allowed to takeover European pay-TV firm Sky as long as it divests Sky News to Disney or another company, British politicians have ruled. The stock rose 0.3 percent to 13.54 pounds at 3:30 p.m.in London on Tuesday.

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Comcast, which itself lost out to Disney previous year in an effort to buy 21st Century Fox, had last month formalized its cash bid for all of Sky. Fox has since offered remedies to address those concerns, such as offering to preserve the editorial independence of Sky News or selling the channel to Disney.

To add to the sense of free-for-all, Comcast may also bid for Fox's entertainment assets.

He added: "I am optimistic that we can achieve this goal, not least given the willingness 21st Century Fox has shown in developing these credible proposals".

The decision is a boost for Murdoch's second attempt to buy Sky, now a key part of a transcontinental contest for scale between Walt Disney Co. and Comcast.

Fox is seeking to buy the stake for £11.4 billion but the long-running saga has been plagued by fears over media plurality and broadcasting standards - and the influence of Australian-born U.S. citizen Murdoch. Hancock on Tuesday announced a 15-day consultation on the divestment of Sky News. The CMA said earlier this year that the Fox deal would concentrate too much media power in the hands of the Murdoch family and was not in the public interest.

In a statement responding to the announcement, the satellite broadcaster said: "The Independent Directors of Sky are mindful of their fiduciary duties and remain focused on maximising value for Sky shareholders".

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