UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has told Parliament that the government will not make a decision on 21 Century Fox’s bid to acquire the remaining shares in Sky before the parliamentary recess, but said that a decision would be announced “within weeks”.
According to Bradley, she remains minded to refer elements of the deal concerning media plurality to British competition authorities. “There was nothing in their representations that, at this stage, has led me to change my mind about the appropriateness of referral,” she said in a Statement, adding that unless new evidence from other representations changes her mind in coming weeks, the bid will therefore be referred for a Phase 2 review on at least one ground: media plurality.
“Given the consultation only closed on Friday [July 14th], there has not been time to consider all the representations, and I am not in a position today to make my final decision on referral,” she told MPs.
“What I can do, however, is confirm to the House that having carefully reviewed the parties’ representations, and in the absence of further proposed undertakings, I am currently still minded to refer on the media plurality ground and still minded not to accept the undertakings in lieu of a referral. To be clear, as I have said, I must fully consider all relevant representations before reaching a final decision. And I will take the time I need to look at the many I have received, balancing the need for careful consideration of relevant evidence with the merger parties’ legitimate need for a prompt decision,” she confirmed.
Bradley also confirmed that she will write to all parties involved in the process as well as the Labour opposition, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow and others if she makes a final decision during the summer recess.