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21st Century Fox’s Sky takeover bid faces watchdog scrutiny


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

September 12, 2017 | 2 min read

Parliament has put the brakes on 21st Century Fox’s prospective takeover of UK broadcaster Sky as UK culture secretary Karen Bradley admits she was "minded" to put the deal under further regulatory scrutiny.

Sky Believe in Better

Sky Believe in Better

The Murdoch family holds controlling shares in leading UK newspapers The Sun and The Times, and of course, US broadcaster Fox. Conversely, Fox also owns 39% of Sky and the £11.7bn deal would create a major holding for the family in the UK across numerous platforms and mediums.

As such, Bradley expressed concerns about Fox, instead reasserting her intent to open a six-month investigation from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on the basis of media plurality, now also coming under the microscope however is alleged corporate governance failures and its broadcasting standards.

Bradley said: “I have the power to make a reference [to the CMA] if I believe there is a risk – which is not purely fanciful – that the merger might operate against the specified public interests."

BBC News quotes Labour’s shadow culture secretary Tom Watson as branding his opposition as "good 'un", a ringing endorsement of Bradley’s announcement.

This is despite the deal being accepted by the EU competition authority.

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