BSkyB’s holding in ITV has been referred to the Competition Commission by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Alistair Darling.
The director general of the office of fair trading said the purchase meant that it was no longer fully independent, while the media regulator Ofcom expressed concern the purchase might reduce the plurality of the UK broadcast sector.
BSkyB’s purchase of its 17.9% stake froze out Virgin Media, which as NTL-Telewest had already made an approach for the commercial broadcaster.
If the inquiry rules against BSkyB, the broadcaster will be required to sell its stake.
Commenting on the enquiry, BSkyB said: “Sky notes today’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. We look forward to engaging with the Competition Commission as the ongoing regulatory process enters its next phase.”