Britain said Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox had answered its remaining doubts about the independence of Sky News if the U.S. company buys all of its parent Sky, paving the way for a takeover battle over the pay-TV group.
Fox in April offered to spin off Sky News to Walt Disney to head off objections which Murdoch could have too much influence if he owned Sky as well as his British newspapers.
Media Secretary Matt Hancock had said Fox’s proposal was the best remedy for the public interest concerns, yet he wanted some additional guarantees.
He said on Tuesday which Fox had secured a commitment via Disney to operate Sky News for 15 years rather than 10 years, an increase inside the funds available for the channel to at least 100 million pounds ($132 million) a year, as well as a pledge to retain its editorial independence.
Hancock said the revised undertakings would certainly help to ensure which Sky News remains financially viable over the long term, free via any potential outside influence.
The measures, which are subject to a 15-day public consultation, clear the way for a straight fight for Sky between Fox as well as its U.S. pay TV rival Comcast.
Sky welcomed the decision, saying the UK approval process remained the only outstanding precondition which was stopping which putting Fox’s offer to Sky shareholders.
Fox said which right now looked forward to a final decision clearing its transaction.
Fox’s long standing 10.75 pence-a-share offer was trumped by a 12.5-pounds-a-share bid via Comcast in April, valuing Sky at $31 billion.
The shares were trading at 13.37 pounds on Tuesday afternoon, suggesting investors think which takeover saga still incorporates a long way to go.
Even if Fox wins the battle for Sky, which is actually unlikely to own the asset for long.
Comcast as well as Disney are going head-to-head inside the United States to buy most of Fox’s TV as well as movie assets, a deal which would certainly include its current 39 percent stake in Sky, as well as potentially all of Sky if Fox is actually successful in buying the group.
($1 = 0.7599 pounds)
Disclosure: Comcast is actually the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC as well as CNBC.com.