Sky News could be sold off to Walt Disney under concessions put forward by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, as part of the corporation’s efforts to seize full control of the broadcasting company.
Fox, which is attempting to buy the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own, faces a number of regulatory hurdles after the UK’s competition watchdog found the £11.7bn deal was not in the public interest.
It has proposed either a legal separation and comprehensive ringfencing of Sky News or a sale of the loss-making channel to Walt Disney, which is itself attempting to acquire 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets.
The sale of Sky News to Disney would take place “whether or not Disney’s proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox proceeds”.
It comes as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) weighs up whether to recommend Fox’s deal for Sky to the culture secretary, Matt Hancock, who must decide whether to approve or block it.
Sky News has become a flashpoint in Fox’s takeover bid because of competition fears centring on Mr Murdoch’s ownership of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers.
In January, the CMA said the proposed deal was “likely to operate against the public interest” if it went ahead on the terms proposed at the time. The regulator also said that remedies such as a spinning off or divestment of Sky News could allow the takeover to go ahead.
Shares in Sky edged up at the open on Tuesday.