Ofcom report on Fox/Sky deal submitted

A decision on 21st Century Fox's proposed £11.7 billion ($14.9 billion) takeover of Sky has edged closer after the British government received a report on the deal from regulatory agency Ofcom on Tuesday.

On Tuesday two regulators submitted their findings to the government after being asked to look into whether Fox would have too much control of the media, and whether it would be committed to upholding broadcasting standards if the deal went ahead.

The Daily Telegraph reported last month that James and Lachlan Murdoch met with Ofcom head Sharon White behind closed doors in support of Fox's bid to buy the 61% of Sky that it does not already own.

Opponents have given evidence to Ofcom.

The public interest test that Ofcom had been asked to make and the fit and proper test are separate legal processes.

The bid follows a 2011 takeover attempt by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation which was dropped in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that led to the closure of The News of the World. It said a decision on this was expected to be made by June 29.

British regulators are scheduled to decide whether 21 Century Fox can fully consolidate satellite TV provider Sky next week, a move that will likely include at least some concessions, according to Telsey Advisory Group media analyst Tom Eagan.

The European Commission has already rubber-stamped the deal.

She will subsequently make a decision on whether the CMA needs to undertake a "phase 2", or in-depth, investigation.

She said: "I will consider these reports in detail before coming to an initial view on whether or not I am minded to refer the merger".

Vanessa Coleman

Comments