LONDON — Rupert Murdochs 21st Century Fox was on Thursday cleared to buy the broadcaster Sky after the U.K. government said it wouldnt block a deal.
Acquisition negotiations, which began in 2016, were stalled by the British government because of regulatory concerns about Murdoch owning too much of the British media market — 21st Century Fox already owns 39.1 percent of Sky.
However, a breakthrough in the bidding war for Sky between Fox and Comcast came Thursday when new British Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said in a statement he agreed with a regulatory boards finding that Foxs planned sale of Sky News to Disney, or another buyer, would remove any regulatory concerns.
Comcast had already been given U.K. approval to proceed with its pursuit of Sky and on Wednesday had offered £14.75 per share, thus valuing the company at a total of £26 billion.
The acquisition battle for Sky is part of a larger race between Comcast and Disney, according to the Wall Street Journal. Disney offered $71.3 billion for a number of major Fox assets, including the existing 39.1 percent share of Sky, beating a rival bid from Comcast.