Murdoch offers to sell Sky News to Disney to win pay-TV prize


Disney has offered to buy UK-based Sky News in a move created to enable the channel's owner, European pay TV operator Sky, to be acquired by Mouse House target 21st Century Fox.

Since opponents have suggested that a United Kingdom -based news channel is not under fit and proper owner that is 21st Century Fox, Sky News has become an essential part of the takeover deal bid.

According to these new Fox concessions revealed by the CMA, the American group formally proposes to sell the Sky News streaming channel to the American giant of Disney entertainment.

21st Century Fox anticipates that it will acquire the remainder of Sky by 30 June.

US cable giant Comcast gate crashed the deal in February when it said it would offer 12.50 pounds a share to buy Sky, compared to Fox's 10.75 pounds, although it has not yet made a formal bid.

In a filing submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority published Tuesday, Fox said Disney could now buy Sky News.

Sky News could be sold to Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) or ringfenced under proposals by 21 Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) as a way to gain regulatory approval for its takeover of Sky PLC (LON:SKY).

Sky said it in a statement that the "remedy proposals" would "comprehensively address any plurality concerns the CMA may have, and would guarantee the long-term future of Sky News and its ongoing editorial independence".

Fox already owns 39% of Sky and faces competition for control of the business from Comcast, which has lodged a richer bid. It added: "As the regulatory process remains ongoing, shareholders are advised to take no action at this stage".

Fox warned the CMA against accepting "a number of unsupported and fanciful assertions" by "a group of politicians", including Ed Miliband and Sir Vince Cable, who opposed to the deal.

The first - ring-fencing of Sky News - would involve the legal separation of Sky News, with all of Sky News's operations being transferred into a new subsidiary.

"We have proposed a set of solutions that address and resolve any and all questions or concerns that may have been raised by the transaction", Gerson Zweifach, Fox's general counsel, said in an emailed statement. The CMA found the deal would not be against the public interest for broadcasting standards.

Analysts at Liberum said they think Fox's proposed remedies should be enough to overcome the CMA's concerns on news plurality. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) unveiled a possible £22.1bn (US$31bn) all-cash offer to buy Sky. "A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate", it added.