Sky ready to ditch news channel to see through 21st Century Fox acquisition | Major Businesses | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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The long-drawn saga of 21st Century Fox’s planned takeover of Sky has taken a twist with the revelation that the UK leading pay-TV provider is prepared to close down its core news channel in order to see the bid through.

skynews 8Nov2017The news comes only a day after reports in the US have suggested that the Rupert Murdoch-owned US media giant has been holding talks to sell its non-TV and sports assets company to Disney,  and also, and perhaps more significantly, after UK broadcast regulator Ofcom censored the company’s Fox News channel — broadcast as part of the Sky grid until 29 August 2017 — for breaching UK broadcasting standards regarding impartiality.

The breaches relate to programmes broadcast by the controversial and highly partisan news channel in January 2017 and May 2017 - Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight respectively. Even though Fox News has no longer been no longer a licensed television service falling under its jurisdiction, Ofcom decided that publication of its short-form decision regarding standards breaches was appropriate to ensure there was a complete compliance record and to facilitate public understanding of its Broadcasting Code.

Many of those opposed to the deal have feared that a takeover would see Fox News style broadcasting in the UK. On 12 September the proposed takeover was referred to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) by UK Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Karen Bradley, following a probe into the deal that had raised concerns about broadcasting standards and plurality.

Now, according to papers submitted to the CMA released on 7 November, ** Sky informed the authority that it was prepared to throw its award-wining new channel under the bus if it was an impediment to the deal. Its submission said: “The CMA should not in its assessment simply assume the ‘continued provision of Sky News’ and its current contribution to plurality, ‘absent the Transaction. Sky would likely be prompted to review the position in the event that the continued provision of Sky News in its current form unduly impeded merger and/or other corporate opportunities available in relation to Sky's broader business, such as the Transaction - in particular having regard to any views expressed by shareholders regarding the denial of such opportunities.”