Government extends Sky takeover inquiry

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Sky logoImage source, Reuters

The government has given regulators more time to investigate the proposed takeover of broadcaster Sky by 21st Century Fox.

The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Karen Bradley, said she had extended the deadline because of the forthcoming general election.

Regulators were examining the deal in the light of media plurality and broadcasting standards.

European competition authorities had already waved the deal through.

Fox has agreed to pay £11.7bn to buy the 61% of Sky that it does not already own.

Sky shareholders would receive £10.75 cash for each share, valuing the entire company at £18.5bn.

Both Sky and Fox are controlled by businessman Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Times and the Sun newspapers.

Part of Ofcom's investigation will include whether Sky's potential new owners are "fit and proper". Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan Murdoch are both joint chairmen of 21st Century Fox and News Corp, while his other son, James Murdoch, is chief executive of Fox.

Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority were due to report back by 16 May.

Ms Bradley said: "Given the proximity of this decision to the forthcoming general election and following discussions with the parties, Ofcom, the CMA and the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics team", she had extended the deadline until Tuesday 20 June after the state opening of Parliament.