Friday 20 April 2018

Sky bid clearance delay for Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch

Joe Mayes

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox must wait for further progress on its bid to buy Sky, after the UK government said it needed more time to weigh its next move.

The UK will decide in coming weeks whether to send the £11.7bn (€13.1bn) bid for a six-month regulatory review, UK Culture Minister Karen Bradley told British MPs yesterday.. The minister said she may announce her decision during the body's summer recess, which starts Thursday and ends in early September, breaking with tradition to expedite the process.

The possibility of an announcement during the break drew protests from opposition politicians, highlighting the pressure being brought on Bradley, a Conservative Party MP, by the Murdochs and their detractors. Bradley said she was still inclined to refer the deal to the Competition and Markets Authority for an investigation into the Murdoch family's media influence, and left open the chance of a wider probe revisiting their past corporate-governance failings.

The stakes are high for a Conservative government that was weakened in a general election in June. The party, whose stance toward Brexit negotiations initially alienated business leaders, is now trying to woo them. Fox CEO James Murdoch and co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch warned Bradley last week that any delay would signal to other companies that the UK wasn't open for business as the country leaves the EU.

Fox wants a prompt decision so it can press ahead with a deal that would unite the Murdoch family's transatlantic media empire. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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