Decision on Fox/Sky Transaction Delayed


Karen Bradley, the U.K.’s Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has told Parliament that more time is needed to review 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky.

Bradley is assessing as to whether or not the deal should be referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for a six-month regulatory review.

“My final decision on referral can only be made after I have fully considered all relevant evidence on both the plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards grounds. Given the consultation only closed on Friday, there has not been time to consider all the representations, and I am not in a position today to make my final decision on referral,” Bradley told the British Parliament. “I am currently still minded-to refer on the media plurality ground and still minded-not-to accept the undertakings in lieu of a reference.”

Bradley said a decision is likely in the next few weeks.

Responding to the media plurality issue, 21st Century Fox said in a statement today: “We have proposed comprehensive undertakings to address the points raised by Ofcom. We were pleased Ofcom concluded that these undertakings to maintain the editorial independence of Sky News would mitigate any concerns around media plurality. Consequently, we are disappointed that the Secretary of State remains minded to refer on plurality.”

The statement continued, “In light of the transaction’s benefits to the U.K. creative economy, we would urge the Secretary of State to complete the regulatory process expeditiously. 21CF has believed in Sky for over 25 years, and together we have been passionate supporters of the U.K. creative industries, and built one of the world’s most distinctive brands. Combining 21CF and Sky would create a global powerhouse well positioned to deliver the very best in content and viewing experiences for customers, while securing the U.K.’s place as a global player in the creative economy.”