Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Research | By Derrick Holloway

Fox offers to guarantee independence of Sky News

Fox offers to guarantee independence of Sky News

The response came after the CMA recently ruled that if Fox's takeover of Sky "went ahead, as now proposed, it is likely to operate against the public interest", and set out a series of potential options, including insulating Sky News from Murdoch Family Trust.

Fox in its submission said that, "if the CMA's provisional findings are confirmed, the most appropriate form of remedies would be the "firewall" remedies 21st Century Fox is willing to offer" on top of previously proposed concessions. It also committed to maintain a Sky-branded news services in the United Kingdom for at least five years with "equivalent levels of investment".

21st Century Fox has offered to strengthen the editorial independence of Sky News in a bid to ease the company's proposed $15-billion takeover of Sky past Britain's competition watchdog.

In either event, the future of Sky News remains unclear, with Sky hinting it could end the service in order to do the deal with Fox.

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulator had provisionally concluded in January that the takeover would hand too much power over British media to Murdoch.

Given opposition from third parties to Fox's approach of behavioral remedies, the CMA review is still on a knife-edge, says Alice Enders, head of research at media research firm Enders Analysis. Any appointee to the Sky News editorial board must have experience in the United Kingdom media industry.

Presently, Fox Studios is set to be purchased by Disney which includes the X-Men, Deadpool and Fantastic Four properties, in addition to Avatar, 20th Century Fox Television, FX Productions and more.

The Authority will make a final decision with a report submitted to Matthew Hancock, the Secretary of State, by 1st May.

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The Murdochs have previously raised the threat that Sky News could be shut down if the acquisition of Sky fails to secure approval.

The latest proposals include a so-called "sunset clause" relating to the separate agreement between The Walt Disney Company to buy 21CF's entertainment assets - including its 39% Sky stake - for $52bn.

Political opponents of the Fox-Sky deal, led by Labour Party politician Ed Miliband, continued to argue it should not be allowed.

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