British media giant Sky has said it could shut down its 24-hour Sky News channel if its ownership obstructs a proposed takeover by Fox. Matthew Larotonda reports.
One of the biggest TV news outlets in the United Kingdom is facing a threat to its existence due to a proposed takeover of its parent company by Twenty-First Century Fox. Sky News is a 24-hour network and one of the heaviest hitters in British media; a chief competitor to the BBC. But after 28 years on the air its parent company, Sky, has announced it would consider shuttering the channel completely if its ownership was a barrier to Fox's attempt to control the corporation. Fox is already a minority shareholder in Sky, which also operates sports and drama channels and is a cable-Internet provider. The bid for a complete buyout is being reviewed by the British government to determine whether it would negatively impact broadcasting standards in the country, including how many owners are involved in Britain's media. Industry titan Rupert Murdoch, who controls Fox and News Corp, already has Britain's The Times newspaper and tabloid The Sun under his belt. Fox's bid for Sky has been hit by a number of regulatory hurdles and fierce opposition from some politicians. And its success isn't certain. Recent reports that Fox tried selling some assets to Walt Disney, including its Sky shares, has suggested the deal might be in trouble. Sky News declined to tell Reuters how many staff it employs, but all of them are under threat. The company also operates channels in other countries including Sky News Australia and Sky Arabia.