CMA to Examine Fox/Sky Deal for Plurality and Impact on UK Broadcasting Standards

By Ian Walker Features Dow Jones Newswires

The U.K. Competition Authority said Tuesday it plans to examine how the proposed takeover of Sky PLC (SKY.LN) by 21st Century Fox Inc. (FOXA) would affect media plurality and broadcasting standards in the U.K.

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Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox announced last year plans to buy the remaining 61% stake in Sky that it does not own for 11.7 billion pounds ($15.4 billion). The deal was referred to the Competition and Markets Authority for further investigation by the U.K Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on Sept. 20 on public-interest grounds.

In terms of media plurality, Secretary of State Karen Bradley had raised questions about whether the proposed takeover would give one organization too much power in the British media.

Mr. Murdoch and his family are major shareholders of both Fox and News Corp, which owns a number of British newspapers such as the Times of London, the Sunday Times and the Sun, the U.K.'s best-selling tabloid. News Corp also owns The Wall Street Journal. The proposed deal had already passed muster with European Union antitrust regulators.

With regards to broadcasting standards, Ms. Bradley said previously she was acting partly out of concern about corporate governance at 21st Century Fox.

The regulator is required to report its recommendations to the secretary of state within six months of opening the investigation.

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Stu Woo contributed to this article.

Write to Ian Walker at ian.walker@wsj.com; @IanWalk40289749

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 10, 2017 02:51 ET (06:51 GMT)