News Worms
News Worms

Culture Secretary prepared to refer Sky, Fox deal to CMA

Culture Secretary prepared to refer Sky, Fox deal to CMA

Referring to Ofcom's public interest report, Bradley said: "Fox did not have adequate compliance procedures in place for the broadcast of Fox News in the United Kingdom and only took action to improve its approach to compliance after Ofcom expressed concerns...."

British Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said Tuesday she was acting partly out of concern about corporate-governance at 21st Century Fox, highlighted by a series of sexual harassment scandals at its Fox News unit.

Third parties also raised concerns about what they termed the "Foxification" of Fox-owned news outlets internationally, Bradley said. "These are matters the CMA may wish to consider in the event of a referral", she finished.

"I agree that corporate governance issues at Fox raise non-fanciful concerns, but in my view it would be appropriate for these concerns to be considered further by the CMA". She was not confident that weaknesses in Fox's corporate governance arrangements were incapable of affecting compliance in the broadcasting standards context.

Shares of Sky, which are valued at 1075p each under the proposed takeover, fell by 5% when Ms Bradley announced her decision to the Commons.

The culture minister must first hear from the parties in the proposed merger before finalizing her decision to refer the deal to the CMA. Sharon White, chief executive of Ofcom, is also on the bill.

The culture secretary has come under increased pressure from a group of MPs going under the Avaaz campaign name.

State Street also voted against News Corp. board member Joel Klein and Fox board members Chase Carey and David DeVoe.

"I know what that's like, but it liberates her". They have since rallied but now stand at a discount of more than 12% to the offer price - suggesting growing scepticism among a number of investors that the takeover will go ahead.

"I've got my own experience of the Murdochs, and I think she's to be absolutely commended for that".

Bradley's decision on referring the deal to the CMA has delayed for several months but its outcome isn't unexpected.

Ms Bradley later said there was always a threat of a judicial review over such a decision, but she had been scrupulous in following the process. Ofcom had originally found no concerns on that front, but she said that she had chose to add that second part to the extended review due to new evidence, on which she had consulted with Ofcom.

"I have the power to make a reference if I believe there is a risk - which is not purely fanciful - that the merger might operate against the specified public interests", she said.

Fox said in a statement it has engaged with the regulatory process relating to the takeover thus far, and will continue to do so.

Ofcom said: "We placed weight in our fit and proper decision on the revised corporate governance arrangements, which are created to secure that allegations of misconduct come to senior management's attention, and on the fact that James Murdoch has taken personal responsibility for their effectiveness. We look forward to engaging with the CMA on their in-depth review as soon as possible".


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