Disney (NYSE: DIS) has said it will buy Sky News, helping Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA) in it’s £11.7 billion takeover of Sky (LON: SKY).
Murdoch is hoping to buy the 61 percent of Sky he does not already own, however, there are widespread concerns that the deal will give him too much control over the UK news.
The deal is being scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority. The Murdoch family already own News UK, the owner of the Times and the Sun. The CMA found the deal would not be against the public interest for broadcasting standards.
If Disney buys Sky News, it would clear the way for 21st Century Fox to complete the Sky takeover.
21st Century Fox said in a statement: “The Walt Disney Company has expressed an interest in acquiring Sky News, with a view to adding it to Disney’s existing portfolio of television channels, whether or not Disney’s proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox proceeds.”
Murdoch’s company have made several adjustments to the deal, the newest stating that Sky News will be independent. 21st Century Fox said it plans to fund Sky News for 15 years. They added that Sky news will also have an independent board for Sky News.
“We offered this even though the record before the CMA shows that, over the course of nearly 30 years as Sky’s founding shareholder, neither 21CF [21st Century Fox], nor the Murdoch family trust, have ever sought to influence the editorial direction of Sky News,” said 21st Century Fox.
Critics of the deal have said that the independent board could still be influenced by the Murdoch family. Critics include politicians such as Ed Miliband, Vince Cable and Kenneth Clarke.
Sky shares went up about 1 percent on Tuesday morning, making it a top gainer in the FTSE 100.