Sky has this morning served the formal notice of intent with the European Commission that signals the imminent tabling of a formal bid for the 61 per cent of BSkyB it doesn’t already own. The EC now has 25 days to decide whether further investigation is required on competition grounds.
Meanwhile UK government will have to decide quickly if it wants to refer the bid to Ofcom for investigation on public interest grounds. Given the history of hostility to Rupert Murdoch and News Corp from coalition partners the Liberal Democrats, a referral seems inevitable.
News Corp made a bid approach in June which the independent directors rejected on price but the sides agreed to work together on the regulatory steps necessary to facilitate a takeover if an acceptable offer were made.
Last month a group of media including the Telegraph Media Group, Trinity Mirror, Guardian Media Group, Channel 4, BT and the BBC, joined forces to complain the deal would damge media plurality in the UK.