Culture Secretary prepared to refer Sky, Fox deal to CMA

Tuesday 12 September 2017 | 22:16 CET | News

UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has confirmed her intention to refer the planned takeover of broadcaster Sky by 21st Century Fox to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). In a statement to MPs, Bradley said she was minded to refer the proposed merger to the CMA for a full six-month investigation on the grounds of media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards. 

Following further clarification received from Ofcom, the Secretary decided that there are sufficient concerns about a lack of procedures for broadcast compliance for Fox News to warrant further investigation. Bradley said her concerns were not eased by Fox belatedly establishing compliance procedures after Ofcom expressed concerns. She also wants the CMA to investigate corporate governance issues at Fox, despite Ofcom believing that these concerns do not warrant a referral. 

Fox and Sky now have 10 working days to respond to the statement before the Secretary makes her final decision. In a statement, Sky said that it was disappointed by the delay and that the Secretary was minded to refer the takeover to the CMA on the grounds of broadcasting standards despite Ofcom maintaining its advice that there are no sufficient concerns to warrant such a referral. Sky said it would continue to engage with the process as she makes her final decision. 

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