The UK’s recently appointed culture secretary, Jeremy Wright, has okayed 21st Century Fox’s move to purchase the 61% of European satcaster Sky that it doesn’t already own, following consultations regarding the fate of Sky News, should the deal proceed.
Wright’s predecessor, Matt Hancock, had stipulated in June that Sky News should be divested to Disney or “to an alternative suitable buyer, with an agreement to ensure that it is funded for at least 10 years” in order to address public interest concerns.
In Wright’s ministerial statement, he wrote: “It is right that Ofcom, the CMA and my Department have taken such care in ensuring the bid is properly and effectively scrutinized. It is now a matter for the Sky shareholders to decide whether to accept 21CF’s bid.”
Sky issued a statement on Thursday (July 12), saying, “Sky welcomes the Secretary of State’s comments that this now marks the final stage of the public interest consideration of this case.”
The announcement came after news emerged that Comcast, which had put forward a rival bid for Sky in May, had upped its bid on Wednesday night to US$34 billion, after Fox had upped its own bid for the satcaster to £24.5 billion (approximately US$32.4 billion).