The UK government has allowed the 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA) take over Sky (LON: SKY).
Culture minister Matt Hancock has cleared the way for to deal to take place if Sky sells Sky News to another organization. Hancock also approved rival bids from US media giant Comcast.
Fox is hoping to purchase the 61 percent of Sky that it does not already own. Comcast made a rival bid earlier this year of £22 billion.
Disney (NYSE: DIS) has already made an offer to buy Sky News, an offer which is likely to meet Hancock’s standards.
Hancock approved the deal on Tuesday in the House of Commons. The culture minister said he needed to be confident that Sky News could continue making independent decisions.
“As a result, I have asked my officials to begin immediate discussions with the parties to finalise the details with a view to agreeing an acceptable form of the remedy, so we can all be confident Sky News can be divested in a way that works for the long-term,” he said.
“I am optimistic that we can achieve this goal, not least given the willingness 21st Century Fox has shown in developing these credible proposals.
“However, if we can’t agree terms at this point, then I agree with the CMA that the only effective remedy now would be to block the merger altogether. This is not my preferred approach.”
John Ryley, boss of Sky News, told employees that both rival bids contained “commitments to guarantee the funding and editorial independence of Sky News”.
“I will update as and when there are further developments but in the meantime, all we can do is to continue the great job we’ve been doing and concentrate on what we do best which is making the best news content for mobile, television and radio,” he said.
The takeover deal was initially blocked in February due to competition concerns. Sky welcomed the news and said the announcement was a “good starting point to overcome the adverse public interest, effects of the proposed merger that he has identified”.