Regulator to analyse NewsCorp bid

05 November 2010

LONDON: News Corporation's bid for full ownership of BSkyB has been referred to the UK regulator, Ofcom, for further investigation.

Vince Cable, Britain's business secretary, announced that the £12 billion ($19.5bn; €13.77bn) bid, which would allow NewsCorp to take full control of the satellite broadcaster it already partly owns, would be investigated on public interest grounds.

"On the basis of the information and submissions available to me, I have decided that it is appropriate to issue an intervention notice in this particular case," Mr Cable said.

"The independent experts at Ofcom will now investigate and report to me on the media plurality issues that may arise from this proposed acquisition."

Ofcom has until the last day of December to submit a report examining the impact of the proposed acquistion on media plurality in the UK.

Mr Cable may then decide whether or not to refer the deal to the next layer of regulation - the Competition Commission.

NewsCorp was keen to play down the possible impact of Cable's move, saying it was "confident" that the deal would eventually be given the the green light.

"News Corporation is confident that the proposed investment will not adversely affect media plurality in the United Kingdom and looks forward to discussing any substantive issues with the relevant authorities," the company said in a statement.

Due to the size of the bid, the company has been obliged to formally notify the European Commission of its intentions regarding BSkyB.

The Commission will report back on its own investigations into the deal on December 8th.

Earlier this year, NewsCorp's rivals in the broadcasting and newspaper worlds wrote to Cable and urged him to act.

NewsCorp already owns four national UK newspapers and the largest broadcaster by turnover.

Data sourced from the Guardian; additional content by Warc staff