Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has decided to pull right-wing Fox News from Sky’s airwaves.
The decision comes amid a UK government review of the US company’s planned £11.7bn (€12.6bn) takeover of Sky, which could potentially face an in-depth investigation on competition concerns. Mr Murdoch’s bid was been given the green light by regulators in Ireland in June.
A spokeswoman for 21st Century Fox aid: “21CF has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK.
“Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK.
“We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK.”
The US-focused channel —which was taken off air at 4pm yesterday — had around 2,000 daily viewers, while its broadcasting agreement with Sky was set to expire by year-end.
It is understood that a growing number of complaints had been lodged against Fox News in the UK, particularly in the wake of 21CF’s bid for Sky.
Mr Murdoch’s media business is hoping to acquire the 61% of Sky it does not already own, raising concerns this would mean handing the Murdochs greater influence of the UK news agenda.
The Government earlier this month asked for further advice from Ofcom before UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley decided whether the proposed tie-up should face an in-depth investigation.
Ms Bradley said last month she was “still minded” to refer the takeover tilt to the Competition and Markets Authority following a report by Ofcom flagging “public interest concerns” surrounding media plurality.
But the Murdoch family have piled the pressure on the Secretary of State, saying her treatment of their bid for Sky will prove a test case for how far Britain is “open for business”.
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