Britain gives qualified OK to Murdoch's BSkyB buyout
Published 01/07/2011 | 05:00
The British government has given Rupert Murdoch's News Corp qualified approval to take control of British Sky Broadcasting, but set further conditions yesterday.
To allay concerns about media dominance, News Corp had offered to spin off Sky News as a separate company. News Corp already owns 'The Sun', Britain's largest-circulation newspaper, 'The Times', 'The Sunday Times' and the Sunday tabloid 'News of the World'.
However, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said yesterday that he also wants Sky News to have a senior journalist on its board, a monitoring trustee to ensure that News Corp complies with conditions, and a requirement that Sky continue to promote Sky News on its satellite channels. The announcement provoked sharp exchanges in the House of Commons.
"This seedy deal would shame a banana republic," Tom Watson of Labour told Hunt.
"You have chosen to accept the assurances of News Corp when they have breached previous assurances made when 'The Times', 'The Sunday Times', 'The Sun', and the 'News of the World' were taken over," Watson said.
BSkyB shares were down 1p (1.1c) at 847p on the London Stock Exchange following Hunt's announcement. News Corp made an initial indicative offer of 700p per share to buy the 61pc of the shares it doesn't already hold, valuing BSkyB at £12.3bn. (Bloomberg)