Murdoch's Sky £11.7bn bid referred to CMA

Jon Howard
September 13, 2017

The CMA would have up to six months to review the deal.

She has consistently said she would be "minded" to refer the deal to a CMA investigation but wanted to ensure any decision was "fair and impartial".

In March, Ms Bradley asked Ofcom, the media and telecoms regulator, to investigate, under the 2002 Enterprise Act, whether the takeover was in the public interest on the grounds of media plurality and broadcasting standards.

The British government will refer Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.'s bid for satellite broadcaster Sky to the country's competition regulator for further examination, in a blow to Rupert Murdoch's takeover plans.

Conservative former culture secretary John Whittingdale said he understood and supported Ms Bradley's decision, adding that the CMA's verdict should resolve the matter and not pave the way for further delays.

Following Bradley's referral, Sky stock sunk nearly 4 percent. Adding Sky News to the mix would give the Murdoch family influence over a third of the news sources used in the United Kingdom, according to a June report by communications watchdog Ofcom.

Bradley said she will give Fox 10 days to offer feedback on her "minded-to" decision on broadcasting standards, before proceeding with the CMA referral.

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Shares in Sky closed down 1.6% at 937.00 pence Tuesday.

"Nevertheless we will continue to engage with the process as the Secretary of State reaches her final decision". After that, she will make a final decision "as promptly as I can".

"The evidence before us of senior management efforts to rectify the situation, which included dismissal of those directly responsible, our judgment was that. there were not concerns which may justify a reference on grounds of the broadcast standards", Ofcom said. "Additionally, she said was now minded to refer the proposed takeover to the CMA on the grounds of genuine commitment to broadcasting standards".

Bradley wrote on 7 August: "A number of representations contend that Ofcom has not considered all the evidence". "The first concern was raised in Ofcom's public interest report: that Fox did not have adequate compliance procedures in place for the broadcast of Fox News in the United Kingdom and only took action to improve its approach to compliance after Ofcom expressed concerns", she said.

There was no immediate response from Fox, the worldwide film and television giant behind hit shows such as The Simpsons and Modern Family.

But Bradley, who has remained United Kingdom culture secretary in May's new government, has been seen as being under pressure to not wave the deal through given that the topic of the Murdochs and their political power has been a hotly discussed topic in Britain.

The takeover has already been approved by regulators in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Italy as well as the European Union, but not yet in Britain.

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