Fox gets lifeline in its takeover offer for Sky

Fox gets lifeline in its takeover offer for Sky

Fox gets lifeline in its takeover offer for Sky

The British government has provisionally approved Fox's £11.7bn (€13.38bn) bid to buy Sky, provided the Rupert Murdoch-owned company sells Sky News to assuage media plurality concerns.

He also cleared the way for Comcast and its rival "superior cash" offer for Sky, which includes Sky News, saying he will not intervene in the proposed takeover deal from the U.S. media giant.

Disney said it welcomed the announcement and was ready for any discussions requested by the United Kingdom secretary.

Regarding Comcast's latest bid for Sky, the Secretary said this did not raise any public interest concerns and that he does not intend to stop any possible transaction. Murdoch's Fox group said in a statement "that it has reached agreement with Sky plc on the terms of a recommended pre-conditional cash offer" to buy the rest of the European pay broadcaster, beyond the 39 percent it already owns.

The decision paves the way for a bidding war worth billions of dollars between Comcast and Fox to complete a takeover of Sky.

Sky shares have been trading above both bids since Comcast made its offer as investors anticipate a renewed push with a higher price from one or both suitors.

Fox is seeking to buy the stake for £11.4 billion but the long-running saga has been plagued by fears over media plurality and broadcasting standards - and the influence of Australian-born United States citizen Murdoch.

UK Culture and Media Secretary Matt Hancock gave his assent on Tuesday to Fox's plans to sell Sky News to Disney, which had a $66bn bid for Fox accepted in December, or another suitable buyer.

Sky was formed in 1990 when Murdoch merged his fledgling British satellite TV service with a rival. It has more than 22 million customers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.

The takeover saga is further complicated by other factors, including the fact that Disney has agreed a separate deal to buy Fox's entertainment assets, including Sky. Amazon and Netflix are ascendant, the old order is being shaken-up.

Mr Hancock said he needed to be confident that the final undertakings ensured the continuation of Sky News's long-term financial viability, and that it could continue to operate as a major UK-based news provider making independent editorial decisions. Fox's pursuit has been held up over concerns that it would give Mr Murdoch, who also owns United Kingdom. newspapers, too much influence over British media.

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