The Competition and markets Authority has ruled that Rupert Murdoch’s proposed Sky buyout is not in the public interest.
The CMA found that Fox taking full control of Sky is not in the public interest due to media plurality concerns, but not because of a lack of a commitment to broadcasting standards.
The CMA said that if the deal went ahead, as currently proposed, it would lead to the Murdoch Family Trust, which controls Fox and News Corp, having too much control over news providers in the UK across all media platforms, and therefore “too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda.”
The CMA said that “due to its control of News Corp, the Murdoch family already has significant influence over public opinion and full ownership of Sky by Fox would strengthen this even further” and that “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 MFT if the deal went ahead.”
Anne Lambert, Chair of the independent investigation Group, said: “Media plurality goes to the heart of our democratic process. It is very important that no group or individual should have too much control of our news media or too much power to affect the political agenda. We have provisionally found that if the Fox/Sky merger went ahead as proposed, it would be against the public interest. It would result in the Murdoch family having too much control over news providers in the UK, and too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda. Our in-depth investigation also considered whether the deal would be against the public interest regarding broadcasting standards. Due to their existing track record in the UK, and the range of policies and procedures the companies involved have in place to ensure broadcasting standards are met, we did not find public interest concerns in this regard.”
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