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UK competition watchdog submits Fox/Sky report

May 1, 2018

By Colin Mann

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has submitted its final report on 21st Century Fox’s bid to buy the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Hancock now has 30 working days to deliver his final ruling on the deal.

The CMA has been investigating whether the deal, announced in December 2016, will give Rupert Murdoch-controlled companies too much influence in Britain’s news media.

If it receives the go ahead, Fox will go head-to-head with US broadband cable company Comcast, which made a rival $31 billion (€25.4bn) offer for Sky on April 25th.

Hancock, in a Written Statement, confirmed that he is obliged to reach a decision and publish the report within 30 working days (by June 13th). “My decision will be on whether the merger operates or may be expected to operate against the public interest, taking into account the specified public interest considerations of media plurality and genuine commitment to broadcasting standards,” he advised.

“When I have reached a decision I will return to Parliament to make an oral statement. I will come to a view on whether to make a final order or accept any final undertakings in due course, and will consult on these publicly, but not before I have taken a decision on the public interest tests. Given my ongoing quasi-judicial role, I will not be making any comment about the substance of the report until I publish my decision,” he concluded.

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