CMA to Examine Fox/Sky Deal for Plurality, Impact on U.K. Broadcasting Standards -- Update

By Ian Walker Features Dow Jones Newswires

(Adds comment from 21st Century Fox and share prices.)

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The U.K. Competition Authority said Tuesday that 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.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox last year announced plans to buy the 61% of Sky that it doesn't already 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.

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 Dow Jones. The proposed deal had already passed muster with European Union antitrust regulators.

Ms. Bradley said previously she was acting partly out of concern about corporate governance at 21st Century Fox.

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

21st Century Fox said it welcomes publication of the statement from the CMA, and it looks forward to the process while engaging in a thorough and constructive review.

At 0747 GMT, Sky shares in London were down 0.50 pence, or 0.05%, at 917.50 pence. 21st Century Fox shares closed Monday at $26.58.

--Stu Woo contributed to this article.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 10, 2017 04:03 ET (08:03 GMT)