Belfast Telegraph

Ofcom issues fresh guidance over Murdoch's £11.7bn bid for Sky

A decision on whether Rupert Murdoch's £11.7 billion swoop for Sky should face an in-depth investigation appeared to move a step closer after Culture Secretary Karen Bradley received fresh guidance from Ofcom.

Ms Bradley will consider the watchdog's clarification on aspects of its advice on the proposed takeover before making a decision "as soon as is reasonably practicable", the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) said.

In July, the Culture Secretary said she was "still minded" to refer the takeover bid to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after an Ofcom report flagged "public interest concerns" surrounding media plurality.

DCMS said in a statement: "Following the advice received from Ofcom on 25 August 2017, the Secretary of State sought clarification from Ofcom on some aspects of the advice.

"We have, today, received Ofcom's response and the Secretary of State will now carefully consider the advice before making her decision on referral on the basis of all the evidence before her, as soon as is reasonably practicable.

"The Secretary of State's requests to Ofcom will be published in due course, and Ofcom intends to publish its advice at the same time."

Ofcom warned Ms Bradley in June that an attempt by Mr Murdoch's 21st Century Fox to acquire the 61% of Sky it does not already own risks handing the tycoon's family "increased influence" over the UK's news agenda and the political process.

Since then, the Murdoch family have piled the pressure on the Culture Secretary, saying her treatment of their bid for Sky will prove a test case for how far Britain is "open for business".

Mr Murdoch last attempted to take over Sky through News Corporation in 2011.

The bid faced opposition from media industry rivals and politicians before it was scuppered by acute pressure on the company, brought about by phone-hacking claims involving News International.

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