Today Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock addressed UK’s Parliament on the proposed mergers between 21st Century Fox and Sky and the competing offer of Comcast and Sky. He cleared Fox’s deal pending the sale of Sky News to Disney or another party and cleared Comcast’s deal without any restrictions. Here is what he had to say:
On Agreeing to the Sale with the Divestiture of Sky News:
“I agree with the CMA that divesting Sky News to Disney, as proposed by Fox, or to an alternative suitable buyer, with an agreement to ensure it is funded for at least ten years, is likely to be the most proportionate and effective remedy for the public interest concerns that have been identified. The CMA report sets out some draft terms for such a divestment, and Fox has written to me to offer undertakings on effectively the same terms.”
On if Divestiture Cannot Be Agreed To:
“However, if we can’t agree terms at this point, then I agree with the CMA that the only effective remedy now would be to block the merger altogether. This is not my preferred approach.”
On Comcast’s Deal to Buy Fox:
“I have concluded that the proposed merger does not raise public interest concerns and so I can confirm today that I will not be issuing an intervention notice.”
What Does This Mean:
- Comcast and Fox are both able to pursue their proposals to purchase Sky.
- If Fox is successful, Disney will end up owning Sky News.
- If Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox is successful, Sky News and Sky would end up recombined.
- Currently Sky does not have a recommended offer and is presumably considering both proposals.