Fox commits to Sky News independence to try to secure Sky deal

Disney is pursuing a separate agreement to buy 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets – including its stake in Sky

British regulators have recommended that the government block Fox's purchase of Sky because it would Murdoch too much control over the country's media.

The company announced it would commit to maintain Sky News for a five year period, alongside creating a fully independent board for the channel, in a bid to appease United Kingdom competition regulators.

The move came after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently ruled that the deal was not in the public interest.

The Hollywood studio revealed that it would keep a Sky-branded news services in the United Kingdom for at least five years and maintain its current level of investment.

Fox also pledged to keep funding Sky-branded news services for at least five years.

It raised the prospect of behavioural remedies including the ones disclosed on Monday, or a more far-reaching structural solution such as the spin-off or divestiture of Sky News.

If the Fox-Sky deal is blocked, and the Disney-Fox deal goes through, Disney would then have to decide whether to make its own offer for the remaining 61% of Sky.

This comes as Fox has spent over a year attempting to buy the 61% in Sky, which is controlled by the Murdoch Family Trust, which also controls News Corporation, the publisher of British newspapers including The Sun and The Times, that it does not now own.

If the deal proceeds as planned, the Murdoch family would control Fox and News Corp, the Sun and the Times newspapers in the UK.

The latest proposals include a so-called "sunset clause" relating to the separate agreement between The Walt Disney Company to buy 21CF's entertainment assets - including its 39% Sky stake - for $52bn.

Fox and Sky after the CMA report didn't immediately discuss their openness to possible remedies, but analysts widely expected them to propose a new governance setup for Sky News.

Working under the assumption that the CMA does not change its mind, the conglomerate said its "proposed firewall remedies represent a comprehensive and clear cut solution that directly addresses the origin of the CMA's adverse provisional findings".

Political opponents of the Fox-Sky deal, led by Labour Party politician Ed Miliband, continued to argue it should not be allowed.



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