Monday 25 June 2018

Fox's UK TV takeover to be challenged in court

The decision by UK regulators that 21st Century Fox would be a
The decision by UK regulators that 21st Century Fox would be a "fit and proper" owner of Sky will be challenged in a British court. (Chris Radburn/PA)

Alistair Smout

The decision by UK regulators that 21st Century Fox would be a "fit and proper" owner of Sky will be challenged in a British court, campaign group Avaaz said on Wednesday.

In a potential new hurdle for the proposed $15.7bn takeover of Sky, Avaaz said that a High Court judge had allowed the challenge to regulator Ofcom's ruling last June that a Fox-controlled Sky would be a 'fit and proper' owner of UK broadcast licences.

Avaaz said the case would be heard before the end of June, potentially complicating an agreement to sell Sky to Fox and then on to Disney if a separate sale of Rupert Murdoch's TV and film assets gets a green light.

The regulator said allegations of sexual and racial harassment at Fox News in the US were extremely serious and disturbing, but had found no clear evidence to suggest senior executives at Fox were aware of the misconduct.

"We will defend our 'fit and proper' assessment, which was independent, expert and based on the evidence," an Ofcom spokesman said in a statement.

The deal already faces other obstacles. Last month Britain's competition regulator said that it should be blocked unless a way is found to prevent Murdoch, who owns the 'Times' and the 'Sun' newspapers, from influencing Sky's news output. (Reuters)

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