Bradley intends to refer Fox takeover of Sky to competition regulator

Bradley intends to refer Fox takeover of Sky to competition regulator

Bradley intends to refer Fox takeover of Sky to competition regulator

Following the culture secretary's concerns of Murdoch's takeover of Sky (LON:SKY), the Competition and Markets Authority will carry out further investigations into the £11.7 billion deal.

21st Century Fox struck a preliminary deal to snap up the 61 per cent of Sky that it does not already own in December previous year.

"Accordingly I can confirm my intention to make a referral on the media plurality ground to the CMA", Bradley said.

And she raised new concerns Tuesday about the company's commitment to broadcasting standards.

However, in her decision today, Bradley said, "I am committed to transparency and openness in this process and have been clear my decisions can only be influenced by facts, not opinions - and by the evidence, not who shouts the loudest".

Ofcom has now confirmed it considers this to raise non-fanciful concerns but which are not sufficiently serious to warrant referral. Ofcom had, in June, been unequivocal in its findings that a merged Fox and Sky would have a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards. "These are matters the CMA may wish to consider".

Ms Bradley said she disagreed with Ofcom's assessment, despite Sky recent decision to stop broadcasting Fox News in the UK. Bradley said her concerns were not eased by Fox belatedly establishing compliance procedures after Ofcom expressed concerns.

In doing so, the culture secretary effectively overruled the updated advice from Ofcom, which identified "non-fanciful concerns" relating to broadcasting standards about the deal but recommended that "we do not consider that these are..." She also wants the CMA to investigate corporate governance issues at Fox, despite Ofcom believing that these concerns do not warrant a referral.

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Sky's share price slumped, then partially recovered in the wake of the news, prompting one Sky News expert to speculate that investors are skeptical that the Fox deal will go through.

"I have given the parties 10 working days to respond".

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

Fox's bid for Sky may be delayed after a minister questioned whether phone-hacking and harassment scandals could hurt broadcasting standards.

Sky shares dropped by roughly 2% in London.

The broadcaster did say though that its actions were as a result of the channel no longer being a viable option in the United Kingdom as the costs of distributing the U.S. network meant it was not in 21st Century Fox's commercial interests to continue its offer.

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.

Wigdor, which is pursuing several cases against Fox News, said: "We are pleased that after our submissions Secretary Bradley has concluded that a further investigation is necessary in order to determine whether Fox has met broadcasting standards and are hopeful that Fox will now waive any gag orders so that other individuals can provide relevant information without fear of reprisal".

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