Zenith CC&P Current Awareness

Have I got news for you: What does the future hold for Sky?

6 June 2018

Prof. Suzanne Rab

The bidding lines are drawn as the Government has cleared the way for rival bids for Sky.

The Culture Secretary has approved Comcast’s bid for Sky and said that Fox’s bid for Sky can proceed if Sky News is divested in a way that safeguards the public interest. 

The UK currently has one of the more complex regulatory frameworks for review of media mergers.  Exceptionally, this is a sector where in some situations the decision on whether to approve a merger rests with the Government on media public interest grounds.

Fox is seeking to acquire the 61% interest in Sky that it does not already own.  

Meanwhile, Disney has entered a deal to acquire Fox’s interests in Sky and Tata Sky, among other assets. 

The Culture Secretary’s announcement follows an independent review of the Fox-Sky transaction by the Competition and Markets Authority.  As to plurality, the theories of harm identified by the CMA were a reduction in the range of viewpoints available to and consumed by the public; and an increase in the influence of the Murdoch Family Trust on public opinion and the political agenda.  In relation to broadcasting standards, the CMA identified a theory of harm that there will not be a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards after the transaction but largely dismissed such concerns.

Regulators tend to operate on the basis of what is known or reasonably likely and not on what may happen at some future date.  It remains to be seen whether Fox can offer suitable undertakings to avert public interest concerns, but the door is open.

For further information please contact the Clerk of Suzanne RabPaul McNab.

Current Awareness

By the CC&P team