Sky take over bid face assessment by competition Watchdog

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 10 Oct 2017) London, Uk – –

Competition and Markets Authority details scope of investigation into Murdochs’ potential to control editorial decisions

The competition watchdog has said it will assess whether Rupert Murdoch would be able to control or influence editorial decisions at Sky News as one of the key points of its investigation into his £11.7bn Sky takeover bid.

On Tuesday, the Competition and Markets Authority outlined the scope of its inquiry into how the deal would affect UK media plurality and broadcasting standards, and invited submissions for the six-month investigation.

Among the areas the CMA will look at is whether the Murdoch family’s ability to control or influence editorial and commercial decisions at Sky News will change, and how, if 21st Century Fox’s attempt to buy the 61% of Sky it does not own is successful.

The regulator will also assess their ability to “influence the political agenda” and how this could change after a takeover, alongside more general scrutiny of the potential effect on the number and variety of British media, including the “range of viewpoints”.

Fox and Sky’s broadcasting standards will be scrutinised, with the CMA saying it will look at whether the merged group would have a “genuine commitment” to the standards, while giving consideration to their track record.

Corporate governance and the treatment of employees in the UK and overseas are also to be assessed.

Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, referred Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky to the CMA last month for a full inquiry, after a three-month investigation by Ofcom.

While Ofcom raised concerns over media plurality, it found there was no reason to block the takeover bid on the grounds of broadcasting standards.

Anne Lambert, the CMA panel chair, said: “The CMA will use its extensive experience of investigating different issues in a wide range of sectors to thoroughly and impartially investigate the proposed takeover of Sky Plc by 21st Century Fox.

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

Bradley will appear at a select committee hearing on Wednesday, while Sky is to face shareholders for its annual general meeting on Thursday.