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Ofcom’s review into Sky takeover bid postponed for snap general election

By Freddy Mayhew

Ofcom’s review into the proposed £12bn takeover of Sky by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has been postponed as a result of the snap general election.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley referred the bid to the broadcast regulator last month amid concerns it could affect “media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards”.

The deadline for the public interest report, originally due for DATE, has now been moved 20 June – 12 days after Britain goes to the polls.

Ofcom told Press Gazette: “In light of the general election, the Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, has extended the deadline for submission of the public interest report into the proposed Fox/Sky merger until 20 June.

“As Ofcom has previously said, the issues we are required to consider in the public interest assessment may overlap with our own consideration of Sky’s fitness to hold broadcasting licences.

“Given this overlap, we are extending the consideration of our fit and proper assessment, and expect to reach conclusions on 20 June.”

The deal envisages Fox paying £10.75 per share for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own – valuing the Game Of Thrones broadcaster at £18.5 billion.

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It comes five years after Murdoch’s last tilt at taking full control of the business through News Corporation, which was derailed after the company became embroiled in the phone-hacking scandal.

Earlier this month, the European Commission gave its unconditional approval for the deal.

In a statement, the organisation said: “The Commission found that the proposed transaction would lead to only a limited increase in Sky’s existing share of the markets for the acquisition of TV content as well as in the market for the wholesale supply of TV channels in the relevant Member States.”

The Competition and Markets Authority are also looking into the proposal.

Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire 

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