Sky News: 21st Century Fox makes 10 year commitment pledge

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has upgraded its assurance over the future of Sky News and its independence.

The company has doubled the period of time it is prepared to continue running the loss-making news channel, from five to ten years - providing it is allowed to take over the part of Sky plc it doesn't already own.

A takeover of Sky plc by 21st Century Fox is subject to regulatory and Government approval, with the latest move designed to sweeten the deal. The latest announcement comes only a week after the company promised to keep the news channel running for five years.

Additionally, the company says the independent board it proposes for Sky News would have to provide a certified annual statement to the Government, as well as having the right to nominate a candidate for the head of Sky News, should the post become vacant.

While 21st Century Fox is trying to gain full control of Sky, the company is also in takeover talks with Disney, which, in the event of 21st Century Fox being allowed to take over Sky, would result in Disney ultimately taking control of the pay TV giant. The latest set of reassurances include that the commitments to keep Sky News running for 10 years would not lapse under a so-called "sunset clause" in the event of a Disney takeover. 

The Competition and Markets Authority is due to submit a report to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, who will make the final decision on the matter this spring.

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