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21st Century Fox has submitted a new and extended proposal for maintaining the independence of U.K. news channel Sky News as part of remedies it hopes will help it seal its planned deal to take full control of European pay TV giant Sky.
Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Tuesday published Fox’s sweetened offer of remedies.
Previously, Fox had offered what it called ‘firewall’ remedies on top of previously proposed concessions. Fox back then also reiterated a previous proposal for “a commitment to Sky-branded news services in the U.K. for at least five years with similar levels of investment.”
Fox has in a letter now proposed to extend the commitment from five to 10 years and said it is no longer subject to Fox or a successor owning more than 39.14 percent of Sky.
“We trust that you will find the revised firewall remedies satisfactory,” Fox representatives wrote.
The provisional CMA report had raised concerns about the influence of the Murdoch family trust, which controls Fox and News Corp, over the U.K. media landscape. It suggested the government could block the deal, order a spinoff or divestiture of Sky News or set behavioral remedies to “insulate” it from the influence of the Murdoch trust. Media regulator Ofcom in an earlier step of the deal review had also proposed that Sky News should be protected to preserve its editorial independence.
Political opponents of the Fox-Sky deal, led by Labour Party politician Ed Miliband, in recent submissions continued to argue it should not be allowed. “We urge the CMA to follow through the logic of its provisional findings and recommend to the Secretary of the State [of Culture] the prohibition of this deal,” they said in their submission to the CMA. “We urge it not to be satisfied with ineffective and implausible structural or behavioral remedies, which will fail to protect the public interest or guarantee a secure future for Sky News. In particular, we suggest that the CMA should not go down the same path that has failed before: undertakings given, and broken, by the Murdochs.”
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