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Vince Cable, the UK Business Secretary, has issued an intervention notice on News Corp’s bid to acquire the 61 per cent of BSkyB shares that it does not already own.
The notice requires that Ofcom investigates the public interest consideration of media plurality and submits a report by December 31st. The European Commission will investigate the proposed acquisition on the grounds of competition and it will announce its own decision by 8 December.
The intervention, under Section 67 of the Enterprise Act 2002 was made on the basis of the submissions the Secretary of State has received, presumably including that from rival newspaper groups and the BBC.
Cable, said: “On the basis of the information and submissions available to me, I have decided that it is appropriate to issue an intervention notice in this particular case.
“The independent experts at Ofcom will now investigate and report to me on the media plurality issues that may arise from this proposed acquisition.”
Once the Secretary of State has considered Ofcom’s report, he will make a further decision on whether or not to refer the matter to the Competition Commission.