Disney will reportedly increase its offer for Fox after Comcast bid

Galtero Lara
Июня 20, 2018

He said that Disney would be restricted from selling Sky News for 15 years without the consent of the Secretary of State, would need to be committed to operating the service for 15 years, up from its offer of 10 years, and would need to increase Sky News' budget to at least £100M per year.

Britain said Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox had answered its remaining doubts about the independence of Sky News if the USA company buys all of its parent Sky, paving the way for a takeover battle over the pay-TV group. But if Disney returns to Fox with an appealing offer of its own, it'll be up to Comcast - not Disney - to act fast.

And he said any buyer would have to guarantee that Sky News remained financially viable, continued to operate as a major UK-based news provider and was able to make editorial decisions independently and free from any potential outside influence.

Fox, which now owns 39pc of Sky, would continue to pay the costs of the rolling news channel for 15 years, even if it also sells the rest of the company to Disney as part of a massive asset sale.

Hancock will now consult formally with all parties for 15 days and views are sought by 5pm on Wednesday 4 July 2018. However, as Comcast has since re-entered the negotiations with a $65 billion cash offer, the Mouse House is now expected to counter Comcast's latest bid for Fox - if needed, to ensure the deal closes.

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Fox, which is already Sky's biggest shareholder with a 39.1% stake, first tabled a proposal in December 2016 to buy the remainder of the broadcaster for £11.7bn in a deal valuing the whole of Sky at £18.5bn.

Comcast has also offered commitments to guarantee the funding and editorial independence of Sky News. For one, the company will have to significantly up its bid if it wants to go to bat with Comcast over Fox.

But Mr Hancock's confirmation he will endorse "updated" and "improved" protections for the 24 hour news channel effectively clears the final hurdle.

For its part, Fox has offered new commitments in an attempt to get its $15 billion bid for Sky over the finish line, including a promise, if necessary, to fund Sky News for 15 years, five more than it had previously offered.

Fox had already agreed to meet the British competition watchdog's proposed remedies by the time Hancock spoke to Parliament earlier this month and made offloading Sky News a condition to the Fox bid gaining approval.

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