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Friday 17th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

A MULTIBILLION-POUND bid by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox conglomerate to take over Sky TV is to be investigated by media watchdog Ofcom.

Concerns over the increased concentration of media control in Mr Murdoch’s hands that would result from the proposed £11.7 billion takeover were raised by MPs in the Commons yesterday.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told MPs she was intervening on the grounds of “media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards.”

21st Century Fox’s bid will also be examined by the Competition and Markets Authority — formerly the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Ms Bradley told MPs she had considered representations from Fox, but she was not satisfied that her concerns over public interest had been addressed.

“I am of the view that it remains both important, given the issues raised, and wholly appropriate for me to seek comprehensive advice from Ofcom on these public interest considerations and from the Competition and Markets Authority on jurisdiction issues,” she said.

Shadow culture secretary Tom Watson said: “It is right that Ofcom applies a ‘fit and proper’ assessment to the bid and considers any public interest test, in addition to concerns about plurality and broadcasting standards.

“But a comprehensive fit and proper test will take time, so that all of the Murdochs’ failures of corporate governance during the phone-hacking scandal and elsewhere can be properly investigated.”

He said the government should instigate the second part of the Leveson inquiry into media standards, which was prompted by the scandal over phone hacking at Murdoch-owned newspaper the News of the World.