Fox pledges Sky News independence, as takeover hangs in the balance

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21st Century Fox proposed Sky takeover faces a setback.

21st Century Fox has affirmed it will maintain the independence of Sky News (LON:SKY), as it looks to cement its proposed take-over.

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 UK competition regulators.

21st century Fox has said that as result of said proposals, “there could be no circumstances in which, post-transaction, the MFT or members of the Murdoch family could influence, whether directly or indirectly, the editorial line or policy of Sky News”.

Last year Rupert Murdoch’s firm announced plans to takeover the remaining stake of Sky, however, the UK government referred the proposed deal to the competition authorities to review.

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

Last month the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) provisionally deemed that the Murdoch family would consequently have “too much control over news providers in the UK across all media platforms and therefore too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda”.

The CMA still have to publish a final report to the government imposed deadline of May 1st.

Fox already holds a 39 percent stake in the British broadcaster, which operates UK’s largest digital subscription television company, as it looks to solidify its ownership.

The deal valued the TV broadcasting service at £18.5 billion ($23.2 billion).

Last year, Disney (NYSE:DIS) confirmed a $52.4 billion (£39 billion) deal to acquire 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX). 

Should the Fox-Sky takeover go ahead, this would mean that ownership of Sky will likely transfer to Disney.