Government says News of the World stories are 'not material' to BSkyB takeover decision
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has said that the latest revelations surrounding the News of the World will not affect the announcement by Jeremy Hunt as to his stance over the takeover of BSkyB.
As further evidence emerges of phone hacking and police bribery for information at the Sunday tabloid, owned by Rupert Murdoch, questions were raised as to the effects that could be had upon the takeover of BSkyB by News International.
The takeover cannot proceed without Government clearance, and culture secretary is expected to make an announcement that he will allow it to proceed in the coming days.
A spokesperson told The Drum that the current revelations would have no connection to the decision.
“The merger has been investigated on the basis of the effect it could have on media plurality. The phone-hacking allegations are very serious, but they are not material to the issue of media plurality,” said the spokesperson.
Former deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who was one of those who had his phone hacked by the newspaper, has called for the takeover to be blocked after it was revealed that murdered school girl Millie Dowler had her own phone hacked and messaged deleted by an investigator working for the paper.
Queries have also been raised following the allegations as to whether the BSkyB will allow the deal to proceed, and could see News Corporation pay even more to complete the takeover, which was initially valued at £7.4bn when first proposed last June.