CMA details scope of Fox-Sky investigation in issues statement

Andrew Cummings
October 12, 2017

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley sent the £11.7bn ($15.4bn) deal to the CMA for review last month following the conclusion of a three-month inquiry by Ofcom.

Mr Murdoch is chief executive of Fox, which is attempting to seize control of the 61% of Sky it does not already own.

Today's update comes as Sky awaits a decision from the competition watchdog on a proposed takeover by 21st Century Fox.

Fox, which now owns 39.1% of Sky, is trying to buy full control of the business in a deal that would value the parent of Sky News at £18.5bn.

The owner of Sky News, which is awaiting a decision on a takeover of the business by 21st Century Fox, said like-for-like revenue rose 5% to £3.3bn - aided by 161,000 customer additions across the group which includes the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy and now Spain.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom earlier said the deal risked giving the Murdoch family "increased influence" over the UK's news agenda and political process.

He refused, however, to answer questions from investors about whether Sky's reputation could be insulated from the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, which led to the departure of its chair, Roger Ailes, who has since died, and its anchor, Bill O'Reilly.

"At the same time, where were pieces of evidence, particularly from the corporate governance issues in Fox News, that were extremely disturbing and extremely serious and we certainly found issues of corporate governance failings", she revealed.

In terms of looking at broadcasting standards, the CMA said it is seeking views and evidence on whether the merged entity, post-transaction, will have a "genuine commitment to broadcasting standards objectives".

"Minority shareholders at Sky would be better served by a truly independent chairman", said Ashley Hamilton Claxton, the firm's corporate governance manager. But it was also our judgement that you could not, within a broadcasting arena, on a reasonable basis, take the view that Sky would not continue to be a fit and proper broadcaster, "continued White".

She added: "I am absolutely confident we did a professional, independent, expert job".

Later in the session, Ms White was asked about the issue of so-called "fake news", and said that social media platforms such as Facebook needed to take more responsibility to ensure "appropriate content" was carried on their platforms and that such content could be trusted.

Other reports by iNewsToday