The Walt Disney Company could buy UK's Sky News

Phone hacking claims

21st Century Fox Inc. on Tuesday said Walt Disney Co. was prepared to buy the news channel of British pay-TV operator Sky PLC, a proposal that could bolster its position in a contentious trans-Atlantic takeover battle that includes US cable giant Comcast Corp. Murdoch previously planned to buy the 61 percent of Sky that Fox doesn't own to sell Fox's media businesses to Disney.

Alternatively, The Walt Disney Company has expressed an interest in acquiring Sky News, with a view to adding it to Disney's existing portfolio of television channels, whether or not Disney's proposed acquisition of Twenty-First Century proceeds.

Fox agreed in December 2016 to buy the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own, but the deal has been repeatedly delayed by the United Kingdom government and regulators, allowing Comcast to gate crash the deal in February.

The proposed takeover is very controversial as critics have warned tit would leave too much media power in the hands of the Murdoch family - who already own The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun.

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

Fox said the proposed changes "went above and beyond" what Ofcom, the independent media regulator in the United Kingdom had "stated would mitigate concerns around media plurality".

"We have proposed a set of solutions that address and resolve any and all questions or concerns that may have been raised by the transaction", the Financial Times quoted Gerson Zweifach, Fox's senior executive vice-president and group general counsel as saying regarding the new move.

Disney owns ABC News and therefore could be seen as a good fit for Sky News. His readiness to buy Sky News therefore signals a clear commitment to owning Sky.

The agency is mulling whether to recommend the Fox deal for Sky to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock for approval.

By doing so, Fox's takeover of Sky would mostly likely be approved by regulators.

Separate news on Tuesday that Sky Italia had settled its long-running fight with Mediaset in the Italian pay-TV market also made Sky more valuable, they added.

Even if Fox's proposals satisfy Britain's government and competition regulator, however, it may still need to raise its recommended offer for Sky after USA cable group Comcast Corp said it meant to make a higher counter-bid.

Sky also said the proposals would address regulatory concerns.

Fox said in a regulatory filing: 'We have worked diligently with the CMA throughout its extensive review.

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