Government approves Fox bid to buy Sky on basis it sells Sky News to Disney as Comcast offer also cleared

The UK 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.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said the deal must be backed by at least ten years of guaranteed funding for the news channel, but warned he would block the merger if this could not be met. He also cleared the way for Comcast and its rival “superior cash” offer for Sky, which includes Sky News, saying he will not intervene in the proposed takeover deal from the US media giant. If Fox’s deal is ultimately approved it looks set to result in a bidding war for the ownership of Sky.

Murdoch’s bid to buy the 61 per cent of Sky he does not already own has been snagged by media plurality concerns, with the UK competition watchdog provisionally ruling in January that it was “not in the public interest”.

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