Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has asked Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority to examine the takeover bid for UK satellite broadcaster Sky by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
In a statement to Parliament, Bradley told MPs that the media regulator and competition authority would investigate the £11.7bn offer for the US-based media conglomerate to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own.
21st Century Fox said it was “confident” the takeover deal would be approved, but there are public interest grounds for the investigation as the takeover would reduce plurality in the media. Murdoch already owns newspapers The Sun and The Times.
Part of the Ofcom investigation will also examine whether 21st Century Fox would be “fit and proper” owners of a UK broadcaster. Murdoch’s previous attempt to acquire Sky was withdrawn in 2011 after Murdoch-owned newspaper The News of the World was implicated in the phone-hacking scandal, and questions were asked about the close relationship between the media tycoon and high profile politicians.
“While the representations from 21st Century Fox highlighted areas where it contested the position taken in my minded-to letter, none of the representations have led me to dismiss the concerns I have regarding the two public interest grounds I previously specified.
“I am of the view that it remains both important, given the issues raised, and wholly appropriate for me to seek comprehensive advice from Ofcom on these public interest considerations and from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on jurisdiction issues.”