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Fox's Sky News funding plan gets go-ahead from UK government

Staff Writer |
Twenty-First Century Fox and Sky welcomed Tuesday's statement by the UK's Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport that he will accept Fox's proposal to increase Sky News' funding to 15 years when it is divested to Disney.

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e Secretary of State accepted Fox's proposal to divest Sky News on June 5 but cautioned that Fox would need to ensure Sky News' long term viability.

According to Sky, the Secretary of State has now confirmed "that the revised undertakings offered by Fox and Disney successfully meet the criteria he set out to parliament" and he intends to accept Fox's proposal.

The divestment of Sky News to Disney is intended to satisfy the UK competition watchdog, which ruled that Fox's acquisition of Sky would give too much control to the Fox-owning Murdoch family.

A 15-day public consultation will now begin and a final decision on the takeover is expected July 4.

Secretary of State Matt Hancock said: "...I am today publishing updated undertakings offered by 21CF along with new undertakings offered by Disney for the divestment of Sky News to Disney.

These undertakings are offered on improved terms and will include:

- a commitment from Disney to operate and maintain a Sky News branded news service for 15 years rather than 10 years

- a restriction on Disney from selling Sky News for 15 years without the consent of the Secretary of State

- an extension of the funding commitment from 21st Century Fox from 10 years to 15 years

- an increase in the total funds available to Sky News, to at least £100m per year, with operating costs protected in real terms

- a formal commitment from Disney to preserve the editorial independence of Sky News."

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