News Corp’s Sky takeover moves forward

News Corp’s proposed takeover of UK pay TV platform BSkyB has been greenlit after UK authorities imposed conditions, agreed by News, including spinning off news operation Sky News into a separate entity and limiting its ownership to a minority position.

News Corp has diverse publishing interests in the UK and ‘Newco’, as it is referred to by communications regulator Ofcom, will be required to operate in accordance with the principle of editorial independence to ensure plurality. Newco will be required to have an independent director and a trustee to monitor its independence during an interim period. News must also agree to not influencing Sky News’ editorial decisions ahead of the spin-off. The news channels are also guaranteed carriage on Sky for at least ten years.

By agreeing to these conditions, News can move ahead with its takeover of Sky. The US-listed company currently owns 37.19% of Sky and wants to control the remainder of the pay TV provider. Buying the remaining stake is likely to cost News more than the initial £7.8 billion (€8.7 billion) that it offered as shareholders hold out for more per share. Analysts now expect the total to be nearer to £10 billion.

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