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Britain Might Intervene in Fox’s Acquisition of Sky
World Economy

Britain Might Intervene in Fox’s Acquisition of Sky

The UK government said it is leaning toward intervening in 21st Century Fox Inc.’s proposed 11.7 billion-pound ($14.3 billion) takeover of Sky Plc, citing the potential impact on media plurality and broadcasting standards, and will make a final decision within 10 days.
“I have concerns that there may be public-interest considerations -- as set out in the Enterprise Act 2002—that are relevant to this proposed merger that warrant further investigation,” Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Karen Bradley said in a statement Friday, according to Bloomberg.
Fox’s bid to take over Sky, in which it already has a 39% stake, was officially referred to European competition authorities on Friday, triggering the 10-day window for Bradley to decide whether to ask the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, to start its own investigation.
“This is not an announcement of my final decision in relation to intervention, but an indication of what I am presently minded to do,” Bradley said. She said she plans to give a final decision in the week beginning March 13.
Media billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s previous attempt to acquire Sky was thwarted in 2011 over a phone-hacking scandal at his newspapers.
Murdoch’s News Corp. has since been split, with Fox owning the entertainment business, but opponents of the current proposal have continuing concerns about Murdoch having too much control over UK media.
Uncertainty over whether Fox will succeed in buying the rest of Sky has led traders to discount the UK satellite broadcaster’s stock. Sky declined 0.3% on Friday to 9.95 pounds, leaving the stock 7.4% below Fox’s offer of 10.75 pounds per share.

 

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