Published: Wed, January 24, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Fox takeover of Sky "not in public interest"

Fox takeover of Sky

But the loss-making channel may not find another buyer, and media plurality would scarcely be helped if an independent news outlet eventually collapsed.

The deal was past onto the CMA for an investigation last September by Karen Bradley.

The MFT's news outlets are now consumed by almost a third of the UK's population across TV, radio, online and newspapers. This will make the Murdochs the second-largest shareholder in Disney although they do not, at this point, have any agreement for board representation. "The Sky deal would give the Murdochs too much power. As such, the CMA's analysis of the Fox/Sky transaction can not take it into account in its assessment of the transaction but implications of the Disney transaction in relation to remedies is considered in the notice of possible remedies".

He will make the final decision as to whether or not the deal will go ahead.

This would suggest that this decision could well be down to sequencing given that the Disney deal hasn't as yet been completed and needs to be reviewed and approved by United States regulators, and this is by no means certain. "It is therefore uncertain whether, when or how the transaction will be completed".

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox may be denied approval for its proposed takeover of TV giant Sky, due to media plurality and broadcasting standards concerns.

Sky shares jumped by more than 3% in London.

The CMA's final report will be provided to the Culture Secretary Matt Hancock by May 1.

Overall, the media plurality concerns identified meant that the CMA provisionally concluded that the proposed transaction is not in the public interest.

In terms of broadcasting standards, the CMA found that Fox, Sky and the Murdoch family's trust have a "genuine commitment to broadcasting standards in the UK".

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However, the CMA released a statement that suggested a Fox takeover of Sky - which operates in five European territories and has 23 million subscribers - was "not in the public interest".

The CMA will issue a final report in May.

Disney has yet to state its intentions over Sky News' future.

Fox now has a 39% stake in Sky, and has been trying to buy the remaining 61%. In December, Murdoch began dismantling his media empire, announcing a $52.4bn (£37.5bn) deal with Walt Disney to sell assets including the Fox film studio and a controlling stake in Sky.

The deal would "reduce the diversity of viewpoints available to and consumed by members of the public", the authority said.

This resulted in scrutiny from British regulators which had to determine whether Murdoch had too much control and influence in Britain already.

Analysts said the ruling may actually be good news for the takeover because the spinoff of Sky News is workable — while it would have a less clear path for the companies to mitigate concerns about broadcasting standards.

If the full Sky acquisition goes through, Disney will assume full ownership of Sky, but the CMA said the sale of Sky to Disney would be subject to a separate round of review.

"Media plurality goes to the heart of our democratic process", said investigation chair Anne Lambert.

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