Fox could separate Sky News to satisfy United Kingdom regulator on takeover

Murdoch’s ownership of the Sun the Times and the Sunday Times newspapers has led to competition concerns over the Fox takeover of Sky News

"We have worked diligently with the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) throughout its extensive review", Fox said on Tuesday.

Acquiring the 61 percent of Sky that Fox doesn't own is part of Murdoch's broader plan to sell Fox's media businesses to Disney but the European takeover has been held up by additional scrutiny, after allegations of harassment at Fox News in the US and as a 2011 phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch's newspapers continued to dog the billionaire media tycoon.

Sky News could be sold to Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) or ringfenced under proposals by 21 Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) as a way to gain regulatory approval for its takeover of Sky PLC (LON:SKY).

Both options revolve around Sky's news business.

Disney owns ABC News and therefore could be seen as a good fit for Sky News. 21st Century Fox said it plans to fund Sky News for 15 years.

In a statement Sky said the proposals would "comprehensively address any plurality concerns the CMA may have, and would guarantee the long-term future of Sky News and its ongoing editorial independence".

"These enhanced remedies went above and beyond what Ofcom, the expert, independent regulator on United Kingdom broadcasting, had stated would mitigate concerns around media plurality".

Fox had already pledged to ensure the independence of Sky News. In February, Comcast jumped in with a competing $31 billion bid for Sky after missing out on the deal for Fox's entertainment assets that went to Disney.

It added: "The divestment of Sky News to Disney is separate from, and not conditional on, Disney's acquisition of Fox".

Fox is continuing to work with United Kingdom regulators on finalizing the deal for Sky while also fending off a rival bid from Comcast.

The proposed takeover is very controversial as critics have warned tit would leave too much media power in the hands of the Murdoch family - who already own The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun. Murdoch previously planned to buy the 61 percent of Sky that Fox doesn't own to sell Fox's media businesses to Disney. The principle reason behind this was broadcasting standards and plurality concerns.

Fox said on Tuesday a group of politicians was seeking to influence the CMA, adding they were making "a number of unsupported and fanciful assertions".

"The fact that Disney has agreed to this today suggests that the next thing to expect is a revised bid from Fox/Disney for Sky, to match or beat Comcast's offer".

Comcast's offer of 12.50 pounds per Sky share exceeds a 10.75-pound offer by Fox.

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