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The UK culture secretary Karen Bradley has referred 21st Century Fox’s £11.7bn bid for full control of Sky to the media watchdog Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority.
In a statement to MPs on Thursday morning, Ms Bradley said regulators will look at whether the bid will effect media plurality in the UK – the diversity of news sources and whether one media owner has too much influence over the political agenda. Ofcom will also assess Fox on the basis of broadcasting standards.
The CMA, which will report on jurisdiction, and Ofcom now have 40 days to consider the £10.75 a share offer by the US media group before deciding whether it should be sent for a phase two inquiry by the CMA.
Ms Bradley said:
While the representations from 21st Century Fox highlighted areas where it contested the position taken in my minded to letter, none of the representations have led me to dismiss the concerns I have regarding the two public interest grounds I previously specified.
In a statement, 21st Century Fox said it looks forward to working UK authorities in their reviews.
We are confident that a thorough review of our track record over 30 years will underscore our commitment to upholding high broadcast standards, and will demonstrate that the transaction will not result in there being insufficient plurality in the UK. The media market has changed dramatically in recent years, as has our business. We believe our proposed £11.7 billion investment will benefit the UK’s creative industries.