Life&Culture

Sky bid face six-month review

Sky bid face six-month review

"We urge Secretary Bradley, the CMA and all members of Parliament to continue to take serious the most recent developments at Fox News and 21C Fox that bring to light the Murdochs' negligence in adhering to broadcasting standards and establishing strong compliance procedures and corporate governance systems", said Angelo Carusone, the group's president.

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.

The U.K. government is set to order its antitrust regulator to review 21st Century Fox's $15 billion bid for Sky, the country's biggest pay-TV company, not only because of concerns about "media plurality", but also about its reporting standards and about its general corporate governance.

21st Century Fox said in an emailed statement that it was "disappointed that the Secretary of State has chosen not to follow the unequivocal advice of the independent regulator, which is the expert body tasked with enforcing the Broadcast Code. we do not believe that there are grounds for the Secretary of State to change her previous position".

Before I come to a final decision, I am required - under the Enterprise Act 2002 - to allow the parties to make representations on my proposed decision, and this is the reason my decision at this stage remains a minded-to one. It had also threatened legal action if Bradley did not defer the decision to the CMA. But it reckoned those weren't a big enough concern to doubt Fox's commitment to United Kingdom broadcasting standards. I consider that these non-fanciful concerns do warrant further consideration.

British authorities have increased scrutiny of the impending deal following several complaints raising concerns that the Fox News parent company is not fit to own Sky News.

Shares of Sky, which is 39 percent owned by Fox, fell as much as 5.1 percent, the biggest drop since the U.K.'s June 2016 vote to leave the European Union. I consider that these non-fanciful concerns do warrant further consideration.

She added that she considered it important that entities which adopt controversial or partisan approaches to news and current affairs in other jurisdictions should, at the same time, have a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards here. "These are matters the CMA may wish to consider in the event of a referral", she finished. "After all it's the Murdochs who have a long history of regulatory non-compliance and of corporate governance failure".

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.

Fox said it still expects the deal to close by the end of June 2018, barring any "further delays" to the process.

MPs were told that if she does refer the deal, it would take around 6 months for the CMA to conclude its deliberations. Sky, which broadcasts Premier League soccer in Britain and other European markets, is valued at $25 billion.

Murdoch's last attempt to take full control of Sky was abandoned in 2011 following a lobbying scandal and phone-hacking issues at his News of the World newspaper.


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