United Kingdom confirms watchdog to probe Fox's bid for Sky

United Kingdom confirms watchdog to probe Fox's bid for Sky”

Mr Murdoch's appearance was originally meant to be a victory lap, as Fox initially told investors it expected to complete the acquisition by the end of this year and that regulatory clearance would not cause problems. It now faces a delay that not only puts off its long-desired acquisition of European pay-TV giant Sky but also makes it liable to pay a hefty penalty to Sky shareholders for failing to meet the year-end deadline.

The U.K. government on Thursday said it would refer 21st Century Fox Inc.'s $15.5 billion proposal to consolidate ownership of Sky PLC to the country's competition authority on both broadcasting standards and media plurality grounds.

Confirmation from Bradley comes after she told the House of Commons on Tuesday that she was intending to refer the bid on the grounds of media plurality, as was expected following previous statements, and was now "minded to" do so on the grounds of "genuine commitment to broadcasting standards". Previously, Bradley had only been inclined to send the bid to the authority for scrutiny of media plurality issues. The former Labour leader Ed Miliband said "well done" to Ms Bradley and that there were "very serious questions to answer now for Ofcom about why they provided such flawed advice".

Bradley says Sky and Fox had indicated "they would not be making substantive representations" against the decision. The government will then come to a final decision on whether or not the merger can proceed. "We note the swift decision to now refer this to the CMA and will continue to engage constructively in this process".

Fox made an additional bid for the more than 60% of Sky it doesn't already own in December 2016.

Sky simply said it noted the announcement. Fox shares closed at $26.15 Wednesday after gaining 2.71%.

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