21st Century Fox takeover of Sky referred to competition watchdog

BRITAIN-POLITICS

Britain's culture minister said Tuesday that she was leaning toward asking the country's competition regulator to carry out a more detailed review of a bid by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox to take full control of the British satellite television giant Sky.

Ofcom's advice was sought after nearly 43,000 opinions were submitted to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport by interested companies and individuals, most of which were against the merger going ahead, though only around 30 were "substantive" and raised potentially new evidence or commenting on Ofcom's approach.

In June, the culture secretary said she was "minded" to refer the deal on media plurality but not broadcasting standards after Ofcom raised concerns about how dominant the Murdoch family could be in public life if they were allowed to own all of Sky.

Of the representations Ms Bradley said around 30 of the 43,000 pieces of correspondence received were "substantive", but a "significant majority were campaign-inspired, arguing against the merger going ahead, but generally without providing new or further evidence or commenting on Ofcom's approach".

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But a referral on the grounds of broadcasting standards follows Bradley's request for Ofcom to reconsider its original findings earlier this year.

However, in its latest update, Ofcom clarified it did have "non-fanciful concerns" on broadcasting standards.

Corporate governance issues, although overlapping on broadcast standards, will be considered by the CMA.

The ordering of an inquiry would give the CMA up to six months to investigate.

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