Belfast Telegraph

Rupert Murdoch's juggernaut is now in the fast lane

By David Elliott

The Murdoch juggernaut rumbles on. News Corporation's clever move in 'selling off' Sky News to appease antsy regulators looks likely to pave the way for the media giant's eventual takeover of BSkyB. Whatever you feel it means for the plurality of the UK news industry, you definitely couldn't say Murdoch isn't a good businessman. Indeed, some would say he's too good.

His deft management of regulators and politicians in his persistent pursuit of BSkyB is a lesson for companies of all sizes. Just as culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was about to press the send button on his e-mail marked "Rupert's Wish List" to the Competition Commission, the old dog managed to make a deft sidestep which saved one of those annoying drawn out investigations.

By setting out a plan to place Sky News in a separate company run by an independent editorial board, he calmed Mr Hunt's fears and isn't now expecting to be worrying the Competition Commission's inbox.

If, as now expected, the takeover goes ahead, News Corp's newspaper group and Sky would have a combined

turnover of £7.5bn. At the moment News Corp employs 16,500 staff and the company saw operating profits jump 10% in the last financial year.

Pretty impressive stuff from a financial point of view but questions will remain on the minds of everybody who appreciates and depends on an independent media as regards to Mr Murdoch's own news agenda. Surely at least a cursory glance by the Competition Commission isn't too much to ask for?