Ruling on Fox-Sky deal now due ‘as soon as possible’

The British government yesterday said it had received the additional advice it had requested on Rupert Murdoch’s bid to buy broadcaster Sky, and it would decide whether to refer the deal for an in-depth review as soon as possible.

UK communications regulator Ofcom was asked to look again at the deal earlier this month after opponents lobbied minister Karen Bradley, who was already deciding whether to refer Twenty-First Century Fox’s bid for a wide-ranging investigation.

“The secretary of state will now carefully consider that advice before making her decision on referral on the basis of all the evidence before her, and will do so as soon as is reasonably practicable,” Britain’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport said.

The UK government’s request to Ofcom came amid criticism from politicians worried about the US company’s broadcasting standards.

Earlier this month, hedge fund manager Crispin Odey — Sky’s 15th-largest shareholder, with a 1% stake — said he was considering withdrawing his support for Fox’s attempt to take over Sky, saying the £11.7bn (€12.7bn) offer undervalues the British pay-TV broadcaster.

“The truth is, the longer this goes on, the more that I would be quite happy if it failed,” Mr Odey said in early August, adding that Fox is “getting it at what now looks like quite a cheap price” and the offer is “now starting to look rather mean”.



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