Rupert Murdoch’s Sky takeover bid to be examined by regulators, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley announces

The deal would come five years after the media tycoon’s last tilt at taking full control of the business through News Corporation

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The Independent Online

The UK’s Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said on Thursday that she had asked regulators to examine Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox’s planned takeover of Sky.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Bradley said that she had decided that it was appropriate for the potential deal to be subject to a “thorough regulatory review” by both Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and as a result of concerns that she has around media plurality and broadcasting standards.She said that regulators would determine whether Fox was a “fit and proper” parent for Sky.

Earlier this month, Mr Murdoch’s company formally notified the European Commission that it is bidding nearly £12bn for the European pay-TV company.

At the time, Ms Bradley said that she had “concerns that there may be public interest considerations … that warrant further investigation” before the deal is recommended.

Responding to Ms Bradley’s comments, 21st Century Fox said in a statement Thursday that it looked forward to working with the UK authorities in their reviews.

“We are confident that a thorough review of our track record over 30 years will underscore our commitment to upholding high broadcast standards, and will demonstrate that the transaction will not result in there being insufficient plurality in the UK,” it said.

It added that it believes the merger will “benefit the UK’s creative industries”.

The company struck a preliminary deal to snap up the 61 per cent of Sky that it does not already own in December last year.

Reuters reported at the time that the proposed offer of £10.75 a share in cash, which was backed by Sky’s independent directors, would strengthen the position of James Murdoch – who is both chief executive of Fox and chairman of Sky – in his 86-year-old father’s media empire.

The deal would come five years after the media tycoon’s last tilt at taking full control of the business through News Corporation.

The European competition authorities are still due to decide by 7 April whether to clear the takeover, demand concessions or start a five-month-long investigation into the deal.