Government refers Fox/Sky merger to competition authorities

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Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Karen Bradley has confirmed that the government is “minded” to refer 21st Century Fox’s takeover of Sky to the Competition & Markets Authority.

The £11.7 billion takeover of Sky by Rupert Murdoch’s media giant will now be scrutinised further, which could last six months or longer. The decision was made after an investigation into the takeover by Ofcom.

Ofcom in a statement said, “The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport issued a European intervention notice, which asked Ofcom to report on two public interest considerations around plans by 21st Century Fox to acquire the shares in Sky it does not already own.

Specifically, Ofcom was asked to consider whether there would be sufficient plurality of persons with control of the media enterprises; and whether the parties would have genuine commitment to the attainment in relation to broadcasting of standards objectives.

We provided our public interest report on 20th June 2017 to the Secretary of State, who has today published Ofcom’s report.

Our report finds that the proposed transaction raises public interest concerns relating to media plurality.

It identifies a risk of increased influence by members of the Murdoch Family Trust over the UK news agenda and the political process, with its unique presence on radio, television, in print and online.

Our report says that we consider that these concerns may justify a reference by the Secretary of State to the Competition and Markets Authority.”

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