Murdoch's Sky £11.7bn bid referred to CMA

Murdoch's Sky £11.7bn bid referred to CMA

Murdoch's Sky £11.7bn bid referred to CMA

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told lawmakers Tuesday that she meant to refer the takeover to the Competition and Markets Authority because of concerns that the deal might concentrate too much power in one company's hands.

CMA reviews typically take around six months.

Broadcasting giant Sky, which is listed on the FTSE 100 Index, saw its shares fall 3% after the announcement. "Go ahead with Leveson 2".

Britain's media secretary will make a statement in parliament later on Tuesday about Rupert Murdoch's bid to buy the rest of pay-TV group Sky (L:), the leader of the house said on Twitter. After that, she will make a final decision "as promptly as I can".

British Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said Tuesday she was acting partly out of concern about corporate-governance at 21st Century Fox, highlighted by a series of sexual harassment scandals at its Fox News unit.

Ms Bradley later said there was always a threat of a judicial review over such a decision, but she had been scrupulous in following the process.

Ofcom originally advised Bradley that the fit and proper and broadcasting standards elements of the deal did not warrant further probes, but the media plurality issues did.

Fox subsequently came up with remedies that were sufficient for Ofcom to no longer have an issue with the deal on plurality grounds - although Ms Bradley did.

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Bradley said that because of submissions she had received over the summer, "I am now minded to refer the merger to the (regulator) on the grounds of genuine commitment to broadcasting standards".

"Nevertheless we will continue to engage with the process as the Secretary of State reaches her final decision", Sky said.

However, following the decision, Ms Bradley was lobbied by a number of opponents of the deal, led by former Labour leader Ed Miliband and former business secretary Sir Vince Cable, to assess new evidence concerning Fox's U.S. operations.

Bradley wrote on 7 August: "A number of representations contend that Ofcom has not considered all the evidence".

Turning to the debate about possible corporate governance failures, Bradley said that Ofcom stated in its latest correspondence "that these raise non-fanciful concerns in respect of the broadcasting standards ground".

One concern raised was that Sky "did not have adequate compliance procedures in place for the broadcast of Fox News in the UK".

There was no immediate response from Fox, the global film and television giant behind hit shows such as The Simpsons and Modern Family. The European Union and other countries already approved the deal.

Sky has 22 million customers in five European markets: Italy, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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