21st Century Fox promises independent board for Sky News


Comcast made an offer previous year for 21 Century Fox that was significantly higher than Disney's successful bid, and may make a fresh move to acquire the company, or its European pay TV arm Sky, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The CMA said the bid raised a threat to media plurality because the Murdoch family would control too much of the United Kingdom media market should a deal go through, thanks to the Murdoch Family Trust's influence over The Sun, Sun on Sunday, The Timesand Sunday Times newspapers. It also committed to maintain a Sky-branded news services in the United Kingdom for at least five years with "equivalent levels of investment".

The company has also pledged that no employee will attempt to influence the editorial choices made by the head of Sky News, including the running order of stories and political comment.

The Murdoch-owned group has tabled a series of measures to "guarantee" the editorial independence of Sky News following concerns from Britain's competition watchdog that a tie-up would hand the tycoon too much control over British media.

Fox said the remedies outlined by the group would cease to exist once the Disney takeover is sealed.

In the Wall Street Journal's report on the matter, it's actually noted that Comcast already offered Fox Studios a much higher bid, but they thought the deal wouldn't be able to go through because of anti-trust reasons, so talks ended.

5 December 2017: Walt Disney launches a separate 52.4 billion (£39 billion) takeover of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets, which would include its stake in Sky.

"Our view is that neither structural nor behavioral remedies proposed are an acceptable answer to the plurality concerns raised by the Fox takeover of Sky", the lawmakers said.

The main sticking point was the fact that the Murdoch family would have "too much control over news providers in the United Kingdom, and too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda".

Murdoch's last bid for the whole of Sky foundered amid the 2011 phone-hacking scandal, in which journalists working for his newspapers were accused of gaining illegal access to the voicemail messages of crime victims, celebrities and members of the royal family.