European pay TV giant Sky and its 39 percent owner 21st Century Fox have offered to sell the Sky News channel to Walt Disney if that would help address United Kingdom regulators' concerns about Sky News' independence from Fox.
US cable giant Comcast gate crashed the deal in February when it said it would offer 12.50 pounds a share to buy Sky, compared to Fox's 10.75 pounds, although it has not yet made a formal bid.
Twenty-First Century Fox said on April 3 it had proposed either a legal separation of Sky News from Sky or a sale of the news channel to Fox's planned merger partner Walt Disney, in an effort to ease antitrust concerns over its bid for the pay-TV group.
Sky Italia and Mediaset announced a content and distribution deal on Friday, paving the way for a collaboration between the two media groups.
The UK's competition watchdog found in January that the £11.7bn (€13.3bn) deal for Fox to acquire the 61pc of Sky shares it doesn't already own was 'not in the public interest'. The Murdoch family's news outlets are now consumed by almost a third of the UK's population across TV, radio, online and newspapers.
"The big thing we still don't know is what Comcast are going to do about their potential offer for Sky, which in the short term at least has created a market in Sky shares which is far above the price that 21st Century Fox has offered", he explained.
Fox is continuing to work with United Kingdom regulators on finalizing the deal for Sky while also fending off a rival bid from Comcast. "These enhanced remedies went above and beyond what Ofcom, the expert, independent regulator on United Kingdom broadcasting, had stated would mitigate concerns around media plurality", said 21st Century Fox in a statement.
Sky News could end up being sold to Disney before the rest of Sky.
The Murdoch family own 39 percent of Sky through 21st Century Fox.
The agency is considering whether to recommend the Fox deal for Sky to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock for approval.
The Sky News proposal would take place regardless of whether that acquisition was successfully concluded, Fox said.
The group, which has a broadband arm serving 29 million U.S. customers, owns NBC and Universal Pictures and wants to seize more than 50 per cent of Sky. Unlike Murdoch, Disney has no meaningful news business in Britain and would therefore pose less of a concern to regulators.
The proposed transaction has however been complicated by a rival £22bn bid for Sky from broadcaster Comcast, owner of NBC and Universal Studios, in February.
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