James Murdoch leaves Sky board as Comcast becomes majority shareholder

Sky logo on studios

Image Sky is now majority owned by Comcast

Comcast announced on Tuesday in the United Kingdom that it has completed the acquisition of 21st Century Fox's Sky shares, making the Philly-based company the majority owner of one of Europe's most powerful telecommunications companies.

Critics had argued that allowing Murdoch - who owns major British newspaper titles The Times and The Sun - full control of Sky News would have given him too much influence in the United Kingdom news business.

Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, had been one of Team Sky's staunchest supporters during their recent controversies.

Martin Gilbert, outgoing chairman of Sky's independent board committee, said the deal was an "excellent outcome for Sky shareholders" and congratulated Comcast on taking control.

That remains to be seen but Team Sky are certainly thinking and acting long-term.

It means the Murdochs have relinquished their holding in Sky, having twice failed to take full control of the broadcaster.

The group tabled a £30 billion bid for Sky, dwarfing Fox's bid by a distance. With this, the offer for Sky has become unconditional, Comcast said in its announcement.

Over the weekend, culture secretary Jeremy Wright reaffirmed his statement that Sky News would need to retain its editorial independence under new ownership, a request which Roberts said he would keep to. Roberts assured that Comcast will respect Sky New's editorial independence and preserve the organization's trusted name in delivering high quality and impartial news.

"Separately, Sky News will benefit greatly from Comcast's funding commitments over the coming years and the arrangements that will be put in place to preserve and enhance its editorial independence".

Sky said the cancellation of its shares was expected to become effective on 7 November.

Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS), which has agreed to acquire the entertainment assets of Fox, consented to the sale.

Comcast bought Sky also to win a foothold in Europe and end its sole dependence on the United States at a time when Americans are switching to online streaming.

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