A 21st Century Fox flag flies outside the News Corporation building in Midtown Manhattan, December 14, 2017 in New York City.Image copyright Getty Images

21st Century Fox says it remains set on buying UK broadcaster Sky and hopes for regulatory approval this summer.

Fox has been trying to win approval to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own from UK regulators since 2016.

But the media firm faces competition for Sky from US telecoms giant Comcast, which has put in its own offer.

The comments came as the company, which is led by the Murdoch family, reported a 2% decline in quarterly revenue to $7.4bn (£5.5bn).

Fox said the decline was due to a loss of advertising related to American football, including the fact that it did not air the Super Bowl this year.

Profit was $858m in the first three months of the year, rising about 7% from the same period in 2017.

The results were overshadowed by the pending changes to Fox’s business, including its bid for Sky and a deal struck last year to sell the bulk of its assets, including its film and television studios, to Disney.

Both transactions require approval from regulators to move forward and could be disrupted by interest from Comcast.

Repeating a statement it made earlier, Fox said it is “considering its options” when it comes to the Sky bid and would make a further announcement.

Fox has previously proposed to sell Sky to Disney or take other steps to ensure the independence of the company’s news division, in an effort to allay regulator worries.

On a conference call with financial analysts on Wednesday, Fox chief executive James Murdoch added that it would be “appropriate” for Comcast’s £22bn bid for Sky to undergo a “robust” regulatory review.

The firm also said it remains committed to its deal with Disney.

Earnings details

The sale to Disney would leave Fox focused on news and sports, areas that the firm sees as less vulnerable to online competition.

Quarterly revenue in the firm’s film studios was flat at about $2.2bn, notwithstanding critically acclaimed movies such as The Shape of Water, which won the Best Picture Award at the Oscars this year.

Fox said subscribers actually grew in its cable network unit, which includes the Fox News channel. Quarterly revenue in that division, which accounts for the bulk of the firm’s earnings, rose almost 10% year-on-year to $4.4bn.

Underscoring its ongoing plans for news, Fox also announced a deal to buy seven television stations in the US for $910m.

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