United Kingdom to rule on Rupert Murdoch's bid for Sky today?

United Kingdom to rule on Rupert Murdoch's bid for Sky today?

The Government has today said that it will support Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox bid to buy Sky only on the understanding that Sky News is sold to Disney or another buyer.

Specifically, the CMA warned that if the deal went ahead as proposed by 21CF it would likely operate against the public interest by leading to the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT), which controls Fox and News Corporation (News Corp), increasing its control over Sky, so that it would have too much control over news providers in the United Kingdom across all media platforms including TV, radio, online and newspapers.

Matt Hancock's statement on Tuesday will lay out whether the government will block or permit the deal subject to certain conditions.

Ever since 2016, Fox has been chasing for approval from United Kingdom regulators to buy the 61% of Sky which it does not already own.

21st Century Fox said in a statement it welcomed the Secretary's announcement, noting that it has already "submitted proposed undertakings to achieve the divestiture of Sky News to Disney".

Sky stock rose 0.3pc to £13.54 (€15.64) in London yesterday. The decision gives fresh life to Mr Murdoch's second attempt to buy Sky, part of a transatlantic battle for media assets that includes Walt Disney Company and Comcast.

Fox had offered undertakings to fund and protect the editorial independence of Sky News in order to win backing for its bid.

Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson said Labour had "serious concerns" about the long-term future of Sky News as a UK-based, independent organisation under the proposal to sell it off to pass the Fox bid.

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Meanwhile, Comcast has also stated that it is in the advanced stages of preparing a superior bid for the same assets, although no offer has so far emerged.

Hancock confirmed on Tuesday that he would not intervene in regards to Comcast, either on the grounds of broadcasting standards or on media plurality.

Hancock has asked his officials to begin immediate discussions with the parties to finalise the details with a view to agreeing an acceptable form of the remedy, so that he could be confident Sky News can be divested in a way that works for the long term.

Disney said it welcomes the United Kingdom decision.

The approval of both deals sets up the prospect of a bidding war for Sky, although the share price will tell you that the market has been expecting this for a little while.

Sky was formed in 1990 when Murdoch merged his fledgling British satellite TV service with a rival.

The fate of the British Broadcaster has been under a cloud as the UK's media regulator previously recommended against allowing media mogul Rupert Murdoch's business interests to acquire full ownership.

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