Sky takeover by Rupert Murdoch's Fox 'not in public interest', watchdog finds

Sky takeover by Rupert Murdoch's Fox 'not in public interest', watchdog finds

Sky takeover by Rupert Murdoch's Fox 'not in public interest', watchdog finds

Yet somewhat surprisingly shares in Sky are up 2.5% to £10.29 on the news.

These remedies, protecting Sky News' funding and independence, could "fall away" once Disney, which has yet to state its intentions towards the news provider, takes over.

Blocking the takeover for ethics reasons would have resulted in far bigger problems for the Murdoch family, essentially closing the door for a future deal with Sky and raising further doubts over Murdoch's management of his global news empire.

Murdoch made the $16 billion bid, which began in December 2016, through 21st Century Fox, which he runs with his sons James and Lachlan.

Critics of the deal argue that Murdoch could hold sway over the editorial output of Sky's loss making news channel.

Sky has already threatened to review the future of Sky News if the takeover bid is ultimately blocked.

However, the CMA has given Fox the provisional greenlight over broadcasting standards, suggesting this element of the deal would not work against the public interest.

In a report published today, the CMA found that the Murdoch family would be given too much power over news providers in the United Kingdom, if the deal was to go through.

Although Murdoch's news outlets are watched, read or heard by almost a third of Britons, Sky is a small fish compared to the influence of BBC News, the CMA report found.

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But the regulators also offered ways for Fox to remove their objections, including a spin-off of Sky News or "behavioral remedies" that would reduce the Murdoch family's ability to direct the channel's news coverage. The nuclear option is to stop the deal.

The regulator said this was down to media plurality concerns rather than "a lack of a genuine commitment to meeting broadcasting standards in the UK".

The CMA also concluded that Fox had a "genuine commitment to broadcasting standards in the UK" and was established in the country. "Finally a regulator says No to the Murdochs".

Nevertheless, the media plurality concerns bring a halt to the deal unless remedies can be found, or the deal is dropped in light of the larger Disney transaction announced in while the CMA's inquiry was ongoing. Murdoch's assets now include Sky News - the television network arm of Sky - and Britain's largest newspapers: The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times.

The CMA said a "comprehensive solution" to the questions posed by the deal would be simply to block it.

Murdoch and the 21st Century Fox have yet to comment on the statement. The firm will continue to engage with the CMA ahead of the publication of the final report in May.

The CMA said it would welcome responses to the decision from "interested parties", before its report is finalised and handed to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, by 1 May for a final decision.

"She probably wasn't thinking of Murdoch when she said it, but events have a way of overtaking this prime minister".

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