Breakingviews - Disney and Fox open door to higher Sky bid

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The other proposal would involve a legal separation and ringfencing of Sky News, including the creation of an independent board of directors.

Sky News could be sold to Walt Disney or completely ring-fenced in concessions put forward Tuesday by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox as it seeks to bolster its chances of taking full control of the United Kingdom satellite broadcaster Sky.

The deal, announced in December, is expected to take up to two years to secure approval from regulators.

Disney is interested in acquiring Sky News regardless of whether its larger US$52.4 billion takeover of most of Fox goes through, a move that would guarantee the editorial independence of the operation, Fox said in a submission to the U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority.

Fox said that Disney had "expressed interest" in buying Sky News, to help clear the way for the Murdoch-owned media giant to complete its proposed £18.5bn takeover of Sky. The Murdoch family's news outlets are now consumed by almost a third of the UK's population across TV, radio, online and newspapers.

The Fox bid, pitched at £10.75 per Sky share, is significantly lower than the Comcast offer of £12.50.

The regulator is expected to consider both proposals as it explores the latest remedies and what they mean for its stance on the deal.

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'These enhanced remedies went above and beyond what Ofcom, the expert, independent regulator on United Kingdom broadcasting, had stated would mitigate concerns around media plurality'.

The Murdoch family own 39 percent of Sky through 21st Century Fox. Disney also said it would "agree to sustain the operating capital of Sky News and maintain its editorial independence".

A CMA spokeswoman said on Tuesday it had until May 1 to provide its report on the proposed deal to Britain's minister for digital matters, culture, media and sport.

The group, which has a broadband arm serving 29 million United States customers, owns NBC and Universal Pictures and wants to seize more than 50 per cent of Sky.

Fox is trying to acquire the 61 percent of Sky not already under its control.

Liberum added: "The news that Sky Italia seems to have settled its long-running fight with Mediaset in the Italian pay-TV market also makes Sky more valuable to a bidder, given it makes the prospects in Italy more attractive".

In a statement, the company said: "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".