United Kingdom gov't rules on Comcast, Fox

United Kingdom gov't rules on Comcast, Fox

United Kingdom gov't rules on Comcast, Fox

An intervention notice had been issued for 21st Century Fox's attempt to take full control of Sky previous year "due to concerns about media plurality and the genuine commitment to broadcasting standards".

U.S. media giant Comcast has received the greenlight from the United Kingdom government for its proposed takeover of European satcaster Sky, but fellow bidder 21st Century Fox must sell Sky News to be able to proceed.

However, turning to Fox's lower offer per share for the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own, Hancock added he favored "divesting Sky News" to a suitable third party to address public interest concerns identified by regulators before giving Fox the nod.

Should Fox succeed in its bid for Sky, the Murdochs would likely soon step aside, with both the Walt Disney Company and Comcast bidding in the US for the bulk of Fox's media assets.

Murdoch launched his bid to buy all of Sky in December 2016, but the takeover has been held up by politicians and regulators who fear it will give him too much sway over the news agenda.

The British government will give its verdict on Rupert Murdoch's pursuit of European pay-TV group Sky later on Tuesday, Sky News said.

Investors are clearly hoping for more: Sky shares rose on Tuesday to trade at £13.60 ($18.20).

Comcast, which itself lost out to Disney past year in an effort to buy 21st Century Fox, had last month formalized its cash bid for all of Sky.

Hancock said he had considered the Comcast and Sky bids separately.

"I am optimistic that we can achieve this goal, not least given the willingness 21st Century Fox has shown in developing these credible proposals", he told lawmakers.

Sky noted that officials from the Ministry for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have now been instructed to look towards final undertakings with Fox.

He added that it was vital that Sky News" independence was protected to ensure that it "thrives going forward'. It also said it would not look to buy a majority interest in any United Kingdom newspaper for at least five years.

In a statement responding to the announcement, the satellite broadcaster said: "The Independent Directors of Sky are mindful of their fiduciary duties and remain focused on maximising value for Sky shareholders". Fox's pursuit has been held up over worries that it would give Murdoch, who also owns United Kingdom newspapers, too much influence over British media.

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