Decision on Fox's Sky takeover due today


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PA

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is to announce whether 21st Century Fox will be allowed to complete its takeover of Sky later today.

Ms Bradley asked regulator Ofcom to decide if the deal was in the public interest, especially around media plurality and broadcasting standards.

Fox owns 39% of Sky, but wants to buy the rest, and assume total control of the broadcaster.

The deal has been cleared by European Commission competition authorities.

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AFP

This a quick guide to the issues involved:

Why is the deal controversial?

Rupert Murdoch will control both 21st Century Fox and Sky while also owning The Times and The Sun newspapers.

Opponents say this will give him too much power in the UK media.

Fox has also been hit by sexual harassment scandals at its flagship Fox News channel in the US. Some of the victims have given evidence to Ofcom.

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Getty Images

Why is Mr Murdoch keen on the takeover?

Mr Murdoch is willing to spend £11.7bn on the deal – an indication of how badly he wants it to happen.

Currently the two companies are separate, but if Mr Murdoch is successful, 21st Century Fox would gain access to Sky’s 22 million customers in Europe.

Fox argues that money it invests will benefit the UK’s creative industries.

If the deal is successful, does this mean Sky News will become a UK version of Fox News?

In short, no.

Fox News is widely seen as being a conservative network with contributors such as former Republican Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.

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Fox Entertainment Group

It is also supportive of President Trump.

The UK has rules that ensure broadcasters must pay attention to ‘due impartialty’ so Sky would be prevented from taking a similar route to Fox.

Hasn’t this deal been tried before?

Fox first tried to buy Sky in 2011 but the deal fell apart after revelations about the hacking of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone by the Murdoch-owned ‘News of the World’.

Then, as now, there was opposition from Labour and the Liberal Democrats as well as other media groups.

After the 2011 debacle, Mr Murdoch split the broadcasting and film empire – Fox – away from his newspaper interests – News Corp.

What happens now?

Ms Bradley will have received the report from Ofcom on the broadcasting standards and plurality implications and will announce whether she will refer the deal to the Competion and Markets Authority.



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