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General News Disney proposes to buy Sky News to allow 21CF to complete Sky takeover
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[Image: T38jMUM.jpg]MUMBAI: 21st Century Fox (21CF) has submitted a revised set of remedies to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to safeguard the independence of Sky News.

The first remedy proposed by 21CF is to effect the legal separation between Sky News and the rest of Sky, establishing Sky News as a distinct company within the Sky Group, with its own fully independent board and under the management control of the Head of Sky News.

Under this proposal, Sky News would operate entirely independently with guaranteed funding by 21CF for 15 years. Additionally, 21CF has offered personal undertakings given by 21CF’s Executive Chairmen and its CEO not to influence or attempt to influence the editorial choices made by the Head of Sky News.

“We offered this even though the record before the CMA shows that, over the course of nearly 30 years as Sky’s founding shareholder, neither 21CF nor the Murdoch Family Trust, have ever sought to influence the editorial direction of Sky News,” 21CF said in a statement.

Alternatively, the second remedy is that the Walt Disney Company (Disney) has expressed an interest in acquiring Sky News, with a view to adding it to Disney’s existing portfolio of television channels, whether or not Disney’s proposed acquisition of 21CF proceeds. Disney has already decided to acquire a large part of 21CF’s business including Sky in a $52.4 billion deal.

It is believed that the buyout of Sky News by Disney will help Murdoch to complete the buyout of Sky Corporation. Britain’s media regulator has raised concerns over 21CF’s complete control of Sky stating that it is not in the public interest.

“We have worked diligently with the CMA throughout its extensive review. In fact, we believe that the enhanced firewall remedies we proposed to safeguard the editorial independence of Sky News addressed comprehensively and constructively the CMA’s provisional concerns. These enhanced remedies went above and beyond what Ofcom, the expert, independent regulator on UK broadcasting, had stated would mitigate concerns around media plurality,” 21CF said in a statement.

“We are aware that a group of politicians that is opposed to the transaction is seeking to influence the CMA and is making a number of unsupported and fanciful assertions. If the CMA were to accept at face value these assertions and be dissatisfied with enhanced remedies that are a direct and reasonable response to concerns it had raised with us, we believe that this would compromise the integrity of a system which is supposed to be objective, evidenced-based and grounded on the application of established legal principles.

“We remain committed to working with the CMA to find remedies that will ensure the continued editorial independence of Sky News. We will continue to work with the regulator, and then the Secretary of State at the appropriate time, and leave open the possibility to pursue all of our legal options if necessary.

“21CF has proved itself to be a genuine custodian of quality journalism over many decades. We retain a 39% stake in Sky and, subject to ultimately obtaining regulatory approval, remain focused on acquiring the remaining 61% of Sky.”

Source:

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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