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21st Century Fox submitted a proposal to the UK's competition authority Tuesday to sell Sky News to The Walt Disney Company if it would help ease regulators' concerns over media plurality.

Why it matters: Fox currently owns 39% of Sky and is looking to acquire majority ownership to give its potential new owner, Disney, an opportunity to reach an international audience with its broadcast and streaming rights.

  • Among the proposed remedies Fox laid out was separating Sky News from Sky as a whole and establishing it as an independent company with its own board.
  • The case has been under review for months as UK regulators assess whether ownership by the Murdoch family would have any plurality concerns, since they already own so many media assets in the UK.

"We remain committed to working with the CMA to find remedies that will ensure the continued editorial independence of Sky News," 21st Century Fox says in a statement obtained by Axios. "We will continue to work with the regulator, and then the Secretary of State at the appropriate time, and leave open the possibility to pursue all of our legal options if necessary.

Back home, Fox is still working through merger options. While Fox executives have vocalized support for a Disney merger, there would be clear incentives for them to revisit a higher bid from Comcast, should a vertical merger be approved between AT&T and Time Warner. 

  1. More money. With the Murdoch's trying to simultaneously build "New Fox," or a network that will comprise of the remaining sports and news assets leftover from the deal, more cash for distribution rights and to build their own network would be helpful. 
  2. Higher likelihood of regulatory approval. Fox announced a Disney deal shortly after the Justice Department announced it would sue to block a merger between AT&T and Time Warner. It's likely executives pivoted towards a horizontal merger as a way to move forward with deal talks instead of being stalled by the outcome of the AT&T deal. Changes to the traditional media landscape are putting pressure on executives to get deals done quickly. 

But Comcast clearly isn't risking coming out of this deal clean. Earlier this year, the U.S. telecom giant said it intends to place a rival bid to Fox's takeover of U.K.'s Sky News, in the event that they wouldn't gain international streaming assets through a Fox deal back home. Comcast could face some regulatory scrutiny as well.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”