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The Financial Times is reporting that there may be challenges ahead for the proposed takeover by 21st Century Fox of Sky’s European assets.
The risks focus on the recent problems at 21stC’s Fox news division with a slew of problems, not least recent allegations of sexual impropriety at Fox News, which – says the newspaper – could undermine 21stC’s 1075p/share bid for Sky. The latest problems concern Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly and where sexual harassment allegations have been made.
The Financial Times argues that US law requires businesses to make public those events which concern alleged secret payoffs (and in particular a $3.1 million payment to ‘talent booker’ Laurie Luhn) and whether the UK authorities, and politicians, will link these to the earlier missteps at Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper divisions in Britain and whether therefore 21st Century Fox passes the ‘fit and proper’ test and whether there’s any evidence of a pattern of secrecy and lack of transparency in the running of the companies.
Analysts at Exane-BNP/Paribas, in a note to clients on April 6 say that there’s vocal opposition to the deal from Labour and Liberal Democratic members of the UK’s parliament, although the bank’s report stresses they do not anticipate this affecting the take-over “unless a different 21stC scandal emerges before the deal is approved”.