Comcast pledged to operate Sky's news arm for at least five years if its offer for the broadcaster was successful as the US company was reported to be preparing an attempt to gatecrash Disney's purchase of assets from 21st Century Fox.
The US cable network operator made legally binding pledges about Sky News as it prepared a separate bid for Fox's entertainment assets. The move complicates an already complex picture because Comcast is bidding against Rupert Murdoch's Fox for the 61% of Sky that Fox does not own.
As well as agreeing to keep Sky News, Comcast said it would increase spending on Sky News by at least the rate of consumer price inflation until June 2023.
Comcast also said Sky's headquarters would remain at the current site in Osterley, Greater London, for five years and that it would not acquire controlling stakes in UK newspapers in that time. Sky News will also get an editorial board with oversight of Sky News for 10 years.
Comcast barged in on Murdoch's takeover of Sky on 25 April, offering more than Fox for the UK broadcaster Murdoch founded in 1989. Its intervention prompted Sky to withdraw its recommendation for Fox's offer.
The Murdochs intend to sell Sky along with other Fox TV and film assets to Disney for $52bn, creating a three-way tussle between the media and entertainment giants. In a further twist, Reuters reported on 7 May that Comcast was in talks to arrange $60bn (£44bn) of extra bridge financing to fund an all-cash offer for the Fox businesses.
The financing talks mark renewed interest from Comcast in Fox's movie studio and other assets after Fox rejected its $64bn all-share offer in November. Fox opted to accept Disney's lower bid because of concerns about competition barriers that might scupper a deal with Comcast.
The Murdochs had made a series of promises about Sky News's independence to try to overcome concerns about their dominance of the UK media. Their News Corp business owns the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times and the Talksport radio station.