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20th Century Fox Media Rupert Murdoch

Enquiry into Murdoch’s £11.7bn bid for Sky delayed until after general election

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By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

April 22, 2017 | 3 min read

Ofcom’s enquiry into 21st Century Fox’s £11.7bn bid to takeover Sky has been delayed until after the general election in June.

Sky

Investigation into Sky takeover delayed

Culture secretary Karen Bradly was due to receive two reports into the deal –which would see Fox control the 61% of Sky it does not already own – from UK regulatory Ofcom by 16 May.

However, Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election on 8 June means the deadline has now been extended to 20 June.

Ofcom was investigating the issues of UK media plurality given that Murdoch already holds full control of the Times, Sunday Times and the Sun newspapers and radio group TalkSport, through separate company News Corp.

It was also seeking to determine whether Murdoch is a “fit and proper” owner in wake of the phone hacking scandal, which scuppered his attempts to take over Sky in 2010.

Bradley said of the decision to delay: “Given the proximity of this decision to the forthcoming general election and following discussions with the parties, Ofcom, the Competition and Markets Authority and the Cabinet Office propriety and ethics team I wrote to Ofcom and the CMA on Friday 21 April to extend the period by which these reports should be submitted to Tuesday 20 June.”

After she receives Ofcom’s reports, Bradley will then decide whether to refer to the competition authorities for further scrutiny.

The proposed deal – which has been agreed by Sky's independent directors – has already been called out by commentators as a major test of May's government and Murdoch's influence over it.

Paul Connew, former editor of the Sunday Mirror and Deputy Editor of the Daily Mirror, wrote for The Drum last year that “although the key decision on whether to refer the bid to the regulatory authorities officially falls to the new and somewhat untried culture, media and sports secretary Karen Bradley, no one seriously doubts that Theresa May won't be heavily involved and will ultimately call the shots.”

20th Century Fox Media Rupert Murdoch

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