British Regulator Warns Comcast to Maintain Editorial Independence at Sky News

U.K. Culture Minister Jeremy Wright has a warning for new Sky PlC  (SKYAY) owner Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) : maintain Sky's editorial independence, or else. 

"I've left them in no doubt at all about the importance of editorial independence and Sky News, and what we expect not just over the immediate period following the changes to corporate ownership, but in the longer term," Wright said.

That directive comes after Comcast outbid Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOXA)  and purchased Sky for $40 billion two weeks ago. Fox has been the majority owner of Sky for 29 years. 

"We want to make sure they are committed to Sky News in the long term and committed to its editorial independence," Wright said. 

Comcast outbid Fox by about $3.6 billion, offering about $22 a share while Fox offered about $20.

Sky has about 23 million subscribers in Europe.

Just last week Comcast announced that it will put its 2019 plans for a stock buyback on hold as it focuses on debt reduction following the Sky acquisition. The had previously planned to buyback $5 billion shares in 2018 with $7 billion available under its share repurchase authorization as of the beginning of the year. 

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