Belfast Telegraph

Competition watchdog launches probe into Fox’s Sky takeover bid

The CMA confirmed that Culture Secretary Karen Bradley had referred the proposed deal to the body on the grounds of media plurality and broadcasting standards.

The UK’s competition watchdog has officially opened its investigation into 21st Century Fox’s £11.7 billion takeover bid for Sky.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) confirmed that Culture Secretary Karen Bradley had referred the proposed deal to the body on the grounds of media plurality and broadcasting standards.

21st Century Fox is controlled by the Murdoch family – Rupert and his sons Lachlan and James – and is attempting to seize control of the 61% of Sky it does not already own.

The takeover tilt will be probed by the CMA’s investigation group, including chairman Anne Lambert and panel members Sarah Chambers, John Krumins and Tim Tutton.

Ms Lambert said: “We have experience investigating different issues in a wide range of sectors, from publishing to hospitals and even defence.

“We will use that same evidence-based approach to thoroughly and impartially investigate the proposed takeover of Sky Plc by 21st Century Fox on the public interest grounds of media plurality and a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards.

“Once the investigation is complete we will report back to Karen Bradley for her to make a final decision.”

Ms Bradley told MPs last week that she was likely to refer the deal to the CMA for a full-blown investigation.

The CMA has around six months to investigate the merger and provide Ms Bradley with advice, after which she must then come to a final decision on whether or not the merger can proceed, including any conditions that will apply in order to do so.

The watchdog said it would publish its timetable of the investigation in the near future.

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