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United Kingdom delays decision on Sky merger approval

21 April 2017

United Kingdom culture secretary Karen Bradley said the reviews by communications regulator Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be extended from May 16 until June 20.

Last month Karen Bradley, Britain's culture, media and sport secretary, intervened in the proposed acquisition of Sky by Murdoch's Twenty First Century Fox on the media public interest grounds of media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards.

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Under government rules governing "purdah" - the period immediately before elections, which in this case is due to start at midnight on 21 April - Bradley is not allowed to make a decision on the report. The new deadline falls 12 days after the snap election.

Fox in December reached a deal to buy the remaining 61 percent of Sky that it doesn't own yet for more than $14 billion.

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Critics say that the bid raises plurality issues because it will give Fox News owner Murdoch control of Sky, which owns Sky News, operations in Germany and Italy and United Kingdom newspapers including the Sun and Times.

European competition authorities have already approved the deal but in the UK, Ofcom has an ongoing duty to be satisfied that the holders of broadcast licenses are fit and proper to hold such licenses.

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Murdoch's son Lachlan Murdoch is a joint chairman of Fox while his younger son James is chief executive and chairman of Sky.

United Kingdom delays decision on Sky merger approval