Regulator Says Fox-Sky Deal Not in the Public Interest

Britain's competition regulator said 21st Century Fox's takeover of Sky is not in the public interest because it would give Rupert Murdoch too much influence

Media regulator Ofcom in an earlier step of the deal review had also proposed that Sky News should be protected to preserve its editorial independence.

"While these are serious, the CMA has provisionally found that these are not directly related to the attainment of broadcasting standards and do not call into question Fox's or the (Murdoch family trust's) commitment to broadcasting standards in the U.K", the authority said.

Rupert Murdoch has made a bid of £11.7bn for Sky but regulator says it would give the family too much control over United Kingdom news providers. In 2016, he was named the acting CEO of Fox News.

"The CMA's language in its remedies suggests a greater risk of the deal not occurring", said Whittaker.

The MFT's news outlets are now consumed by almost a third of the UK's population across TV, radio, online and newspapers.

The sticking point is Sky News, the loss-making channel which has become a widely-regarded fixture on the broadcasting landscape.

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"The Murdochs will come up with remedies that work around Sky News".

The proposed takeover of Sky, owner of Sky News, values the whole of the company at £18.5bn. If it wholly-owned Sky, it would have media influence that is not in the public interest, the CMA said.

But it added: "We can not be sufficiently confident at this stage whether, when, or how the Disney/Fox transaction will complete".

Due to all this the CMA said, "It is therefore uncertain whether, when or how that transaction will be completed". Sky had previously threatened to shut its news channel should regulators block the deal, following a previous, failed takeover attempt of the broadcaster by Murdoch in 2011. These could involve Sky News being spun off from Sky to prevent more Murdoch fingerprints on the country's journalism industry.

These proposals will be considered by the CMA, which will then pass its conclusions to Matt Hancock, the culture secretary, who will make a final decision on the deal.

In provisional findings, the CMA said the deal to buy the 61% of the satcaster it does not already own would not benefit media plurality and would hand too much power over the UK's news agenda to Fox boss Rupert Murdoch and his family.

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Fox said it was disappointed about the provisional judgment, although it welcomed the decision that it had a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards.

The CMA will issue a final report in May.

Fox added it still anticipates "approval of the transaction by June 30, 2018" after the final deadline for decision ends on May 1.

Disney has yet to state its intentions over Sky News' future.

It now has a 39 percent stake in Sky and was aiming to buy the other 61 percent.

In a twist to the Sky saga, Disney announced in December a $52.4-billion deal to buy 21st Century Fox.

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