Murdoch’s Sky takeover bid is referred to competition authorities

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch was dealt a blow today as culture secretary Karen Bradley announces decision to delay his Sky takeover bid and refer it to competition authorities.

Concerns have been raised about Murdoch’s grip on the media and the influence this can have on consumers if the coverage is not impartial or rounded with alternating views. Bradley told the Commons that UK telecoms regulator Ofcom concluded the deal would result in the Murdoch family having "increased influence" over the UK's news agenda and the political process.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is the company putting forward the bid. Fox’s news coverage topped US cable ratings last year for the first time and the company already owns 39 percent of Sky but is now looking for permission to undertake a full takeover.

"On the basis of Ofcom's assessment, I confirm that I am minded to refer to a phase two investigation on the grounds of media plurality," Bradley said.

This isn’t the first time Murdoch has attempted to take over Sky. The previous attempt was abandoned in the wake of the phone hacking scandal which involved publications belonging to Murdoch’s News International company and resulted in the closure of British newspaper News of the World.

Tom Watson, the shadow culture secretary, told the Commons undertakings from the Murdoch family were "not worth the newsprint they are written on" and lessons had not been learned from the phone-hacking scandal. He said it was clear the rules need to be reviewed, and if the current Conservative government won’t do that then “the next Labour government will.”

Bradley intends to submit the proposed takeover to a further 24-week inquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority. The EU Commission, for its part, authorised 21st Century Fox to buy Sky back in April.

What are your thoughts on the proposed takeover? Let us know in the comments.

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