Following a referral from the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) it has been provisionally found that Fox taking full control of Sky is not in the public interest due to media plurality concerns, but not because of a lack of a genuine commitment to meeting broadcasting standards in the UK.
The committee ruled against it because it would give Rupert Murdoch and his family too much control over Britain’s news media.
However it found no issue with Fox’s commitment to broadcasting standards, saying that “overall, Fox has a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards in the UK”, having held licences in this country for more than 20 years.
Rupert Murdoch’s Company already owns 39 per cent of Sky but tabled an £11.7bn bid to take full control in 2016.
Anne Lambert, Chair of the independent investigation Group, said:
Media plurality goes to the heart of our democratic process. It is very important that no group or individual should have too much control of our news media or too much power to affect the political agenda.
We have provisionally found that if the Fox/Sky merger went ahead as proposed, it would be against the public interest. It would result in the Murdoch family having too much control over news providers in the UK, and too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda.
Tom Watson MP, Labour’s Shadow Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, responding to the decision by the Competition and Markets Authority to provisionally block Rupert Murdoch’s sky takeover bid, said:
“The CMA is right to say the proposed purchase of Sky by Fox would hand too much power and influence to the Murdoch family. Labour believes a greater number of companies should own our media to encourage a diversity of views.
“This announcement is a victory for the thousands of people who joined the campaign and forced the Government and the regulator to stand up to the Murdochs for once instead of simply waving this bid through. I hope the CMA’s provisional ruling today finally puts paid to this bid.”