Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Sky bid face six-month review

Sky bid face six-month review

Once a formal referral takes place, the regulator will have six months to conduct an investigation.

The reference to the CMA on media plurality was widely expected after Bradley previously stated she was minded to do so.

Following Ofcom's assessment, Bradley had in June said she would look to refer the deal to the CMA on media plurality but not broadcasting standards.

Of the representations Ms Bradley said around 30 of the 43,000 pieces of correspondence received were "substantive", but a "significant majority were campaign-inspired, arguing against the merger going ahead, but generally without providing new or further evidence or commenting on Ofcom's approach".

She said the first concern was around Fox's compliance procedures for the broadcast of Fox News in the United Kingdom, noting the company only took action to improve its approach after Ofcom expressed concerns.

She told MPs: "I consider that these non-fanciful concerns do warrant further consideration".

"Ofcom was reassured by the existence of the compliance regime which provides licensees with an incentive to comply".

And she said she was also "minded" to refer it out of concerns about broadcasting standards.

"My proper concern is whether Fox will have a genuine commitment to attaining broadcasting standards objectives".

Corporate governance issues, although overlapping on broadcast standards, will be considered by the CMA.

Minister Karen Bradley has been weighing whether to refer Twenty-First Century Fox's (O:) bid for Sky for a wide-ranging investigation to assess the impact a takeover would have on the broader provision of news.

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