The Competition and Mergers Authority (CMA) has “provisionally concluded” 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky would have a negative impact on media plurality.
The CMA said it “has provisionally found that Fox taking full control of Sky is not in the public interest due to media plurality concerns, but not because of a lack of a genuine commitment to meeting broadcasting standards in the UK.”
It noted that the Murdoch Family Trusts news outlets are watched or read by a third of the UK’s population and a deal “would lead to the Murdoch Family Trust, which controls Fox and News Corporation, increasing its control over Sky, so that it would have too much control over news providers in the UK across all media platforms (TV, radio, online and newspapers), and therefore too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda.”
The £11.7 billion deal was referred to the CMA by then culture secretary Karen Bradley in September. All eyes will now be on her successor Matt Hancock who could still give the takeover the go-ahead.
The CMA did not mention Disney’s proposed acquisition of parts of 21st Century Fox.
In a statement, Fox said it was “disappointed” by the findings.