Disney Ups Price for Fox, Will Invest Nearly $2 Billion in Sky News

By Chris Ariens 

The Walt Disney Company has increased its offer for the entertainment assets of 21st Century Fox to $71.3 billion in both stock and cash. That trumps Comcast’s all-cash offer of $65 billion made just last week.

As part of the deal, Disney would take control of British broadcaster Sky News.

Matt Hancock, who is the U.K. government’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, said Disney is committed to holding on to Sky News for at least 15 years and investing £100 million each year, or about $1.97 billion over 15 years. Hancock says he also has “a formal commitment from Disney to preserve the editorial independence of Sky News.”

Should the deal go through, Disney’s ABC News would have a European partner in Sky News. ABC had a longstanding relationship with BBC News until last year when the BBC teamed up with CBS News.

If Comcast is the winning bidder for 21st Century Fox’s assets, Sky News would have NBC News as a corporate partner, which could create challenges, or opportunities, for the newly launched EuronewsNBC, the international arm of NBC News. “We will invest in European journalism, strengthening the depth and pace of its reporting, which is rooted in each of the 164 countries where Euronews currently broadcasts,” said NBC News chairman Andy Lack when he announced the formation of EuronewsNBC last year.