Jun 5, 2018

UK government clears rival Sky bids

The UK government has cleared two bids for Sky from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and Comcast, setting up a bidding war for the pan-European media company. On the Fox deal, he agreed that a commitment by Fox to sell Sky News to Walt Disney was sufficient to alleviate concerns about UK media plurality. Fox's bid of £10.75 a share values Sky - which was founded by Mr Murdoch - at about £18.5bn. Its offer has been scrutinised by two regulators, first Ofcom, the UK media watchdog, then the Competition and Markets Authority, for 16 months. Comcast made a competing offer for Sky this year at £12.50 a share, which valued the company at about £22bn. "I agree with the CMA that divesting Sky News to Disney . . . or to an alternative suitable buyer, with an agreement to ensure it is funded for at least 10 years, is likely to be the most proportionate and effective remedy for the public interest concerns that have been identified," Mr Hancock told parliament. "Were the Fox-Disney deal to fail it could leave Sky News isolated from Sky and owned by a foreign company with few news interests in the UK. It's hard to see how that would be in the public interest," Mr Watson said.

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