Sky shares have risen as 21st Century Fox talks with Disney are back on

Emma Haslett
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Disney is thought to be planning to use the assets to take on new entrants into its market (Source: Getty)

Shares in Sky rose in early trading after reports suggested Rupert Murdoch has rekindled talks to sell media assets owned by 21st Century Fox to Disney, including its stake in Sky.

Shares in Sky, which is 39 per cent owned by 21st Century Fox, rose 2.4 per cent to 952p in early trading after both The Times and The Financial Times reported talks were back on.

Under a deal, Disney would take control of 21st Century Fox's film, TV production, cable network and international assets, which includes its Sky stake. It is thought Disney will use the assets to take on big-spending new players including Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO.

Murdoch and his son Lachlan chair the board of 21st Century Fox, while James Murdoch is chief executive of the company and the chairman of Sky.

The deal could be complicated by 21st Century Fox's attempt to buy the shares in Sky it does not own. According to The Times, if it is finally approved by the UK competition regulator, Disney would be expected to follow through on the acquisition.

However, the deal is currently making glacially slow progress, after the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) began an investigation earlier this year, following a decision by culture secretary Karen Bradley, who kept markets on tenterhooks for months trying to decide whether or not to refer it to the CMA. In June she expressed concerns over diversity in the UK's media sector.

Last month Sky attempted to allay her fears by saying it will consider pulling the plug on Sky News if it will help prevent the merger from being blocked.

It was reported last month that Verizon and Comcast were preparing to battle it out over the assets Disney has been linked to.

Read more: Possible end to Sky News if 21st Century Fox merger with Sky blocked

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