Culture

Watchdog sets out stall in probe of Fox-Sky takeover

Watchdog sets out stall in probe of Fox-Sky takeover”

A United Kingdom investigation into a planned takeover of TV giant Sky by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox will assess the tycoon's influence on the country's political landscape, regulators said today.

With respect to media plurality, the CMA will assess the current level of media plurality in the United Kingdom, the extent to which the deal reduces that level of media plurality, and whether the remaining level of plurality of persons with control of media companies would be sufficient. It was the latest in a long series of roadbumps for Rupert Murdoch's attempt to buy the long-coveted 61% of pay-TV giant Sky that Fox does not already own.

It will also look at the Murdoch family's ability to "influence the political agenda" and how that could change after the deal, alongside more general scrutiny of how it could affect the number and variety of media in the United Kingdom, including the "range of viewpoints".

Both Sky and Fox expressed disappointment last month at the government's decision to have the deal investigated by the CMA.

In assessing media plurality, it said that it will look for views and evidence on the current level of media plurality in the United Kingdom, whether and the extent to which the deal reduces that level of media plurality, and whether the remaining level of plurality of persons with control of media enterprises would be sufficient.

While Ofcom raised concerns over media plurality, it found there was no reason to block the takeover bid on the grounds of broadcasting standards.

The CMA said it would explore the extent to which the Murdoch family would be able to "control or influence editorial and commercial decisions" at Sky News if the takeover went through.

Anne Lambert, who is chairing the probe, said the CMA would "thoroughly and impartially investigate the proposed takeover".

Bradley must then "come to a final decision on whether or not the merger can proceed, including any conditions that will apply in order to do so", she has said.



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