LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — Regulators in the UK appear ready to approve Walt Disney’s/21st Century Fox’s bid to acquire UK based news company Sky News after Disney pledged to underwrite additional funding for the operation of the news organization.
According to Sky News, Disney pledged about $130 million a year for the next fifteen years in operating costs, an increase of about 10% for Sky News.
Disney will also be restricted from selling Sky News for 15 years without the agreement of the culture secretary and made a formal commitment regarding the editorial independence of Sky News, the broadcaster said.
According to Sky, the agreement was accepted by Matt Hancock, the current culture secretary, which could pave the way for the acquisition, which would eventually put Sky News in Disney’s hands.
21st Century Fox already owns a 39% stake in the news broadcaster.
“In my view, these revised undertakings meet the criteria that I set out to the House on 5 June and will help to ensure that Sky News remains financially viable over the long term, is able to operate as a major UK-based news provider and is able to take its editorial decisions independently, free from any potential outside influence,” Hancock said on Tuesday, per Sky News.
While it appears to be close to a done deal, Mr. Hancock must provide a formal consultation period of 15 days to allow other stakeholders and interested parties to weigh before the deal is approved. The period closes on July 4th at which time Mr. Hancock is expected to approve the acqusition, Sky News reported.
Sky, including Sky News, is one of a number of entertainment assets that was included in Fox’s $52bn deal with Disney, which was announced late last year. Comcast had also eyed Sky, but tabled a £22.1bn takeover bid.