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21st Century Fox takeover of Sky referred to competition watchdog

12 September, 2017, 17:12 | Author: Jeff Stephens
  • 21st Century Fox takeover of Sky referred to competition watchdog

In an address to Parliament, the minister, Karen Bradley, said she was "minded" to refer the $15 billion deal to the Competition and Markets Authority for a more intensive inquiry over concerns about whether Fox would uphold broadcast standards in Britain and whether it would control too much of the British media.

And following additional representations from the UK's broadcasting regulator Ofcom, Bradley said she is now "minded to" refer the deal to the CMA on the grounds of broadcasting standards.

Murdoch's 21st Century Fox agreed to take full control of Sky in December.

Ms Bradley said she received 43,000 comments on the deal, majority part of activist campaigns against the merger going ahead.

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She said: "On the evidence before me I am not able to conclude that this raises non-fanciful concerns".

At issue for the CMA would be the scope of the Murdoch family's media influence in the United Kingdom and Fox's broadcasting record.

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Ms Bradley said she disagreed with Ofcom's assessment, despite Sky recent decision to stop broadcasting Fox News in the UK.

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Bradley's announcement is a victory for Murdoch's critics, who have been emboldened by scandals over alleged racial discrimination and sexual harassment at his U.S. TV network Fox News.

In Ofcom's original report, the regulator concluded there were "no broadcasting standards concerns that may justify a reference" to the CMA on grounds of broadcasting standards. The group has further threatened Ms Bradley with a legal challenge if she were to choose not to call for a deeper probe of Fox's commitment to broadcasting standards.

Following Bradley's referral, Sky stock sunk nearly 4 percent.

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