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News’ Foxtel share grows with merger approval

The agreement by News Corp Australia and Telstra to merge Foxtel and Fox Sports will see the publisher become the majority shareholder in the combined pay television operator, with its share rising to 65 per cent.

The merger will bring together News’ wholly owned Fox Sports with its 50 per cent share in Foxtel, creating greater opportunity for cross-platform content among the publisher’s assets. Telstra will retain a 35 per cent share in the pay television service.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of this financial year, after which an initial public offering on the Australian Securities Exchange is anticipated.

News Corp International chief executive Robert Thomson said the merger would be a considerable positive change for the publisher, which recently appointed Patrick Delany as chief executive.

“Patrick and his team will be absolutely focused on serving viewers compelling, contemporary Australian content and superlative sports coverage on personalised platforms,” Mr Thomson said. “The launch of the combined company will mark the dawn of a new era and Foxtel and Fox Sports together will amount to a formidable force.”

The merger was approved by the ACCC in December 2017.

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