Decision close on Fox’s Sky takeover plan

Sky logoImage copyright
Reuters

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley will reveal whether she plans to refer 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky for a fuller investigation by 29 June.

Ms Bradley had asked regulator Ofcom to decide if the deal was in the public interest, especially around media plurality and broadcasting standards.

Fox wants to buy the 61% stake in the broadcaster that it does not own.

European Commission competition authorities have approved the deal.

Both Sky and Fox are controlled by businessman Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Times and the Sun newspapers.

Opponents of the $14.8bn (£11.8bn) merger, which would give Fox access to Sky’s 22 million customers in Europe, have given evidence to Ofcom in recent weeks and fear the deal would give Mr Murdoch too much control of media in the UK.

Lawyers representing several women who have accused staff at Fox News – which is part of 21st Century Fox – of sexual harassment, are among those who have spoken to the regulator.

Former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable also oppose the deal.

Previous attempt

Ms Bradley was due to receive the reports on 16 May but she extended the deadline to this week because of the general election.

She can decide to refer the takeover for a fuller investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority.

In a statement, she said: “My priority remains – as it has throughout this proposed merger – to make my decision independently, following a process that is scrupulously fair and impartial, and as quickly as possible.”

After her statement in Parliament, there will be the chance for representations to be made before a final decision is taken.

Mr Murdoch has made a previous attempt to take full control of Sky.

In 2011 News Corp made an offer, but it was abandoned in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.

Two years later, Mr Murdoch split News Corp into two, with 21st Century Fox taking over the TV and entertainment operations, while News Corp kept the newspaper and publishing businesses.

Facebook

Get the Facebook Likebox Slider Pro for WordPress