The UK culture secretary Jeremy Wright has rubber-stamped Fox’s bid to take over the 61% of Sky it does not own, almost 18 months after its request was submitted.
Wright, who was moved to the culture brief earlier this week, replacing the outgoing Matt Hancock, said he had reviewed the process regarding the merger and is reassured that “DCMS and the relevant parties have ensured a scrupulously clear, fair and transparent process”.
The deal has been agreed on the condition if Fox’s bid is successful, it must sell Sky News to Disney or an alternative third-party within 90 days, which was one of the four possible undertakings mooted by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) earlier this year.
Wright said that following a period of consultation which generated five responses, he was confident that any concerns raised had been addressed and would also be publishing the CMA’s findings soon.
“It is now a matter for the Sky shareholders to accept 21st Century Fox’s bid,” he added.
The approval comes as the battle for control of Sky ramps up.
At the time of publication, cable giant Comcast’s £26bn bid is the largest on the table, after it trumped Fox’s £24.5bn offer from earlier in the week.
The deal is complicated by Disney’s £54.5m offer to buy Fox’s entertainment assets, waved through by the US Department of Justice last month. Comcast is also engaged in the bidding war for that business.
This article first appeared on Screen’s sister publication Broadcast.