Shares in Sky pushed higher on Thursday as rumours intensified that Disney and 21st Century Fox are edging closer towards a deal.
The broadcasting giant was up just shy of 2% in morning trading on the London Stock Exchange in response to reports that Disney is leading the chase to buy a significant slice of Fox’s media empire, which would include its 39% stake in Sky.
Fox-owner Rupert Murdoch and his family are favouring a transaction with Disney over Comcast because regulators would be more likely to clear the deal and they would rather be paid in Disney stock, sources told Reuters.
The deal, which would include Fox’s movie assets and part of its TV assets, could be sealed as soon as next week, according to reports by CNBC.
Speculation is also mounting that Sky chairman James Murdoch could be installed as Disney chief executive if the sell-off goes through.
The potential sale comes as Mr Murdoch struggles to finalise an £11.7 billion deal to buy the 61% of Sky that Fox does not already own after Culture Secretary Karen Bradley referred the acquisition to Britain’s competition watchdog for an in-depth investigation.
Ms Bradley shifted Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for a full inquiry earlier this year after a three-month probe by Ofcom.
While Ofcom raised concerns over media plurality, it found there was no reason to block the takeover bid on the grounds of broadcasting standards.
But the CMA confirmed its investigation would focus on both media plurality and broadcasting standards.