Framework of probe into Sky buyout bid outlined by watchdog

  • Framework of probe into Sky buyout bid outlined by watchdog

Framework of probe into Sky buyout bid outlined by watchdog

The takeover tilt by Fox, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, has been in the spotlight this week as Ofcom boss Sharon White and Culture Secretary Karen Bradley appeared before MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

As 21st Century Fox continues its pursuit of full control over European pay-TV group Sky, chairman James Murdoch won re-election today despite significant shareholder opposition. Overall, Britain's Competitions and Markets Authority will assess the impact of the Murdoch family's proposed deal on both broadcasting standards and media plurality, the CMA said in a statement.

The CMA will use its extensive experience of investigating different issues in a wide range of sectors to thoroughly and impartially investigate the proposed takeover of Sky Plc by 21st Century Fox. The investors argue that Fox's attempt to buy the United Kingdom group presents a conflict of interest for Murdoch who is both chairman of Sky and chief executive of 21st Century Fox.

Mr Murdoch survived the scare, which came from shareholders concerned about a potential conflict of interest as 21st Century Fox continues to pursue a deal for the piece of Sky it does not already own.

"And our judgement was that the behaviour, particularly at Fox News, was extremely serious and disturbing".

James Murdoch was questioned about corporate governance at Twenty-First Century Fox, where there have been allegations of sexual and racial harassment.

Fox and Sky's broadcasting standards will also come under the microscope, with the CMA confirming it will look at whether the merged group would have a "genuine commitment" to this - including consideration of their track record. "We had another 50,000-and-something pieces of evidence on the fitness and propriety and I'm absolutely confident that we did a professional, independent, expert job", she asserted.

Later in the session, Ms White was asked about the issue of so-called "fake news", and said that social media platforms such as Facebook needed to take more responsibility to ensure "appropriate content" was carried on their platforms and that such content could be trusted.

Unsurprising the subject of BT and its negotiations with Ofcom, with the goal of boosting investment in the country's high-speed broadband network.

She said Ofcom was "very much holding Openreach [the BT division that runs the UK's broadband network] to the fire" and said early signs of an improvement in service were "reasonably positive".