Murdochs' news influence among review points for U.K. authorities reviewing Fox-Sky deal

Fox
(Coolcaesar/Wikimedia)

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has laid out its points of review for 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky, and the Murdoch family’s potential influence over editorial decisions is one of them.

The CMA listed that and other potential concerns today in an issues statement and opened the review to submissions on the specific matters.

“The CMA will use its extensive experience of investigating different issues in a wide range of sectors to thoroughly and impartially investigate the proposed takeover of Sky Plc by 21st Century Fox. Once the investigation is complete we will report back to Karen Bradley for her to make a final decision,” said CMA panel chair Anne Lambert in a release.

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Aside from the Murdoch family’s control over editorial and commercial decisions, which could evolve as Fox shifts from 39% to 100% ownership of Sky, the CMA also wants to examine how the deal could affect the Murdochs’ ability to influence the political agenda.

Those points and other general matters concerning the impact of varying viewpoints from different news sources and how people in the U.K. consume news and current affairs were all filed under the CMA’s media plurality review of the deal.

For its part, 21st Century Fox issued a cursory statement acknowledging the proceeding.

“21st Century Fox (21CF) welcomes the publication by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the Issues Statement. We look forward to the CMA process and engaging in a thorough and constructive review,” the company said.

In addition to the media plurality review, the CMA will also examine the deal’s potential impact on broadcasting standards. Specifically, the CMA urged views and evidence regarding Fox’s and Sky’s current compliance with broadcast standards, their effective corporate governance, and how the merged entity could potentially lack commitment to broadcasting standards.

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