Murdoch expects Sky deal to close early in 2018

According to reports, James Murdoch says he is confident that the 21st Century Fox bid to acquire the assets of Sky that it does not already own will be approved, but more likely early next year than in 2017.

UK’s Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said she was “minded” to refer the almost deal to the Competition and Markets Authority for wider review, based on the risks to media plurality. This week, Brady asked Ofcom for clarification about parts of its investigation of the proposal, extending the timeline for her decision to the end of August, according to a note to clients from Exane/BNP-Paribas.

The note added: “The investigation would focus on public interest concerns regarding Murdoch family interest in UK media (not 21C broadcasting standard issue). We rate Sky neutral. We continue to expect the bid to ultimately be approved; albeit a referral to the [competition authorities] seems increasingly likely.

SKY finished [August 9] at 2017 low, with discount widening to 11.3 per cent from 10.6 per cent, this spread may widen further, adds the bank’s note.

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