UK government’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) could block Rupert Murdoch’s second and final attempt in 21st Century Fox’s £11.7bn takeover of Sky.
The regulator’s concern was that the takeover was ‘not in public interest’ and the Murdoch family will have too much control over Britain’s news media.
Murdochs also own News UK, the parent company of Britain’s highest selling newspaper – The Sun along with The Times and The Sunday Times.
If the deal goes through, the Australian born media mogul will have entered broadcast news industry with control of Sky News.
CMA thinks that the Murdochs will have too much control over news providers across all media platforms, and therefore too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda.
“While there are a range of other news outlets serving UK audiences, the CMA has provisionally found that they would not be sufficient to moderate or mitigate the increased influence of the Murdoch Family Trust if the deal went ahead,” the CMA said.
Other than media plurality the regulator has also taken into consideration the investigations on News of The World, who were at the centre of phone-hacking scandal and sexual harassment allegations from Fox News employees in the United States.
With talks of Walt Disney co taking over Fox for $66bn (£49bn) which will weaken Murdoch’s control on Sky, CMA said they were open to reconsider their decision once the deal is closed.
After rejecting the first attempt in the takeover, there was an apparent threat from Sky to shut down Sky News if the Fox – Sky deal would not take place.
Fox expressed their disappointment on CMA’s ruling on media plural but still expect the approval to be granted by the end of June.