Ofcom report on Fox takeover of Sky delayed until after UK general election
The UK government has today delayed until 20 June the submission of the public interest report into the proposed takeover of pay-television broadcaster Sky by media giant 21st Century Fox.
The decision has been taken in the wake of prime minister Theresa May’s announcement this week of a general election on 8 June.
In March, Karen Bradley, the UK’s secretary of state for culture, media and sport, referred the planned takeover to Ofcom, the country’s media regulator, which had until 16 May to report back.
However, she has now extended this deadline by five weeks.
In a statement, the watchdog said: “As Ofcom has previously said, the issues we are required to consider in the public interest assessment may overlap with our own consideration of Sky’s fitness to hold broadcasting licences.
“Given this overlap, we are extending the consideration of our fit and proper assessment, and expect to reach conclusions on 20 June.”
Rupert Murdoch's Fox has agreed a deal worth £11.7 billion ($15 billion) to acquire the 61 per cent of Sky is does not already own, and has already received the approval of the European Commission’s competition authorities.
In referring the takeover to Ofcom, Bradley cited public interest grounds including whether the deal will be detrimental to media plurality in the UK, given that Murdoch already owns various newspapers, and now the radio station TalkSport, and whether broadcasting standards objectives, notably accurate and impartial news coverage, will be maintained.
Sky, which has 22.4 million subscribers across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy, yesterday announced operating profit of £1.013 billion on revenues of £9.64 billion for the nine months to the end of March.