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Fox takeover of Sky would give Murdoch family 'too much influence' over UK media

A UK regulator has ruled that a takeover of Sky by Rupert Murdoch is “not in the public interest”.
Jan 23rd 2018, 8:16 AM 9,111 20

THE UK COMPETITION regulator has ruled that a takeover of Sky by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox entertainment group is “not in the public interest”.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally found that Fox taking full control of Sky is not in the public interest because it would give the Murdoch Family Trust too much power over news outlets in the UK.

However, the CMA found the deal would not be against the public interest in relation to meeting broadcasting standards in the UK.

Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox had sealed a €14 billion deal to take control of 61% of Sky back in December 2016.

This resulted in scrutiny from British regulators which had to determine whether Murdoch had too much control and influence in Britain already.

The MFT’s news outlets are currently consumed by almost a third of the UK’s population across TV, newspapers, online and radio. The MFT also controls News Corp.

In a statement this morning, CMA said that if the deal went ahead, the MFT would have “too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda”.

“The MFT’s news outlets are watched, read or heard by nearly a third of the UK’s population, and have a combined share of the public’s news consumption that is significantly greater than all over news providers, except the BBC and ITV,” the statement said.

“Due to its control of News Corp, the Murdoch family already has significant influence over public opinion and full ownership of Sky by Fox would strengthen this even further.

While there are a range of other news outlets serving UK audiences, the CMA has provisionally found that they would not be sufficient to moderate or mitigate the increased influence of the MFT if the deal went ahead.

Broadcasting standards

The CMA’s investigation also examined a range of evidence to understand whether Fox, Sky and the MFT have a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards in the UK.

Here, it provisionally found that Fox taking control of Sky is not likely to operate against the public interest.

Its investigation concluded that, overall, Fox has a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards in the UK.

“It is an established broadcaster here, having held licences for over 20 years. The CMA took account of the policies and procedures Fox has in place to ensure broadcasting standards are met.”

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Hayley Halpin

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