Published:  12:44 AM, 13 September 2017

Murdochs' Sky takeover bid set to be under watchdog

Murdochs' Sky takeover bid  set to be under watchdog Avaaz campaigners protest against the proposed Sky deal outside parliament in London during the summer. -AP

Rupert Murdoch's proposed takeover of Sky faces a six-month investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority after the culture secretary said concerns about the £11.7bn deal mean it needs further examination, the Guardian.

Karen Bradley told parliament she was minded to refer the deal to the competition regulator on the grounds of media plurality and on the grounds of commitment to broadcasting standards. A referral on the grounds of media plurality had been expected but the likely prospect of the second referral was a surprise. Shares in Sky fell after the announcement.

The culture secretary's initial view on the deal in June was to refer the deal on media plurality but not broadcasting standards after Ofcom, the media regulator, raised concerns about how dominant the Murdoch family could be in public life if they were allowed to own all of Sky.

However, since then there has been pressure for the takeover to be referred on the grounds of broadcasting standards. The campaign group Avaaz and a group of high-profile MPs led by Ed Miliband had threatened to launch a judicial review if Bradley did not refer the deal to the CMA on broadcasting standards. Bradley said she was minded to refer on broadcasting standards due to concerns about compliance procedures at Fox News and corporative governance at the Murdochs companies. 21st Century Fox wants to buy the 61% of Sky it does not already own. Fox is controlled by Rupert Murdoch and his sons Lachlan and James.

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