Rupert Murdoch is to exit Sky nearly three decades after launching the British satellite broadcaster, bringing to an end a turbulent era in the history of British television.
21st Century Fox is to sell its 39 per cent stake in Sky to Comcast for £11.6 billion, halting Mr Murdoch’s ambition to take full control of the broadcaster before he sells a large part of his media empire to Walt Disney.
Sky launched as Sky Television in 1989 with a four-channel line-up that included Sky News, Sky Movies and Eurosport. Today the broadcaster has 23 million subscribers across Europe and a host of sports and film broadcast rights. Bob Iger, chief executive of Disney, has described Sky as the “crown jewel” of the Murdoch empire.
Mr Murdoch tried to take full control of Sky in 2010 but abandoned his bid as the News International phone-hacking scandal erupted. He tried again in 2016 but lost a bidding war with Comcast, the $163 billion cable TV company.
Mr Murdoch, 87, chairman of News Corporation, owner of The Times, is co-chairman of 21st Century Fox with his son Lachlan. James Murdoch, Mr Murdoch’s younger son, is chief executive of 21st Century Fox and chairman of Sky.