As the 2010 working year drew to a close, it emerged that a report looking at whether News Corp’s proposed acquisition of the 61 per cent of BSkyB it does not already own would give the media group too much media power, was sent to the British government without being made public.
The UK government asked comms regulator Ofcom to examine the deal and to make a recommendation as to whether it should be referred for further inspection by Britain’s Competition Commission. “Ofcom can confirm that it has submitted its report into the public interest considerations to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport,” an Ofcom spokesman said.
No comments were forthcoming on the contents of the report, which will remain confidential until it is published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which took over responsibility for the proposed deal after Business Secretary Vince Cable was recorded making suggestions that he was waging war against Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Ofcom is expected to request a further investigation, with the decision on how to proceed then falling to Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt . Hunt will aim to make his decision by the end of January, according to DCMS officials.
Ofcom’s role has been to examine the case on media plurality grounds. The deal has already been given unconditional approval from the European Commission which addressed competition issues.