UK telecoms regulator Ofcom will investigate whether a proposed merger between Sky and 21st Century Fox would harm media plurality – the right of citizens to have access to various news sources with different viewpoints.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has significant influence over global news reporting as the CEO of 21st Century Fox and News Corp. The companies’ properties include The Times, The Sun, Wall Street Journal, book publisher HarperCollins, and the Fox Entertainment Group (owners of the 20th Century Fox film studio and the Fox Broadcasting Company.)
Speaking in the House of Commons, Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, expressed concerns about the potential deal because of the further influence which Murdoch and his empire would have over the media. Sky is a major telecoms provider offering mobile, broadband, and satellite TV packages, along with running a major online and TV news organisation with Sky News.
In response to the intervention noticed issued by the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 21st Century Fox issued the following statement:
“21st Century Fox looks forward to working with UK authorities in their reviews of our proposed transaction to combine with Sky. We are confident that a thorough review of our track record over 30 years will underscore our commitment to upholding high broadcast standards, and will demonstrate that the transaction will not result in there being insufficient plurality in the UK. The media market has changed dramatically in recent years, as has our business. We believe our proposed £11.7 billion investment will benefit the UK’s creative industries. We look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders and are confident that the transaction will be approved.”
21st Century Fox already has a 39 percent share in Sky. Rupert Murdoch previously attempted to buy the remaining share but the bid was dismantled following the phone hacking scandal at one of News Corporation’s now closed properties, News of the World.
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