UK Media Secretary Currently Intends to Refer Fox’s Bid to Buy Sky to Competition and Markets Authority

UK’s Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Karen Bradley said Tuesday she currently intends to refer Twenty-First Century Fox’s (FOX) bid to acquire Sky to the Competition and Markets Authority for a full six months investigation on the media plurality ground.

She noted that before she makes a final decision, she is required to allow the parties to make representations on her proposed decision, and “this is the reason my decision at this stage remains a minded-to one. I have given the parties 10 working days to respond.”

In a statement to the House of Commons, Bradley said her decision was also based on “relevant representations” and advice from the communications regulator Ofcom on the grounds of “genuine commitment to broadcasting standards.”

Bradley said the threshold for referral to the CMA is “low.”

“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,” Bradley said.

She also said that a concern raised in a report from Ofcom was that Fox “did not have adequate compliance procedures in place for the broadcast of Fox News in the UK and only took action to improve its approach to compliance after Ofcom expressed concerns. The fact that Fox belatedly established such procedures does not ease my concerns, nor does Fox’s compliance history.”

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