Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has confirmed her intention to refer the proposed merger of 21st Century Fox and Sky on the grounds of the genuine commitment to broadcasting standards and media plurality.
Ms Bradley told the House of Commons that following her ‘minded-to’ decision last week she had received letters from Fox and Sky, saying while they disagreed with the decision, they would not be making substantive representations in relation to it.
“I can confirm my final decision is to refer the merger to the CMA for a Phase 2 investigation on media plurality and genuine commitment to broadcasting standards grounds. I will issue and publish my formal referral decision in the coming days. I will also publish the substantive representations I have received during this process shortly.”
The CMA now has 24 weeks to investigate the merger and provide the Culture Secretary with advice on whether the merger should proceede.
In a statement, 21st Century Fox said it looked forward to engaging constructively with the process: “Yesterday we wrote to the Secretary of State expressing disappointment that she had changed her mind and decided not to follow the advice of the independent and expert regulator Ofcom regarding broadcasting standards, but informing her that we did not intend to make further representations and encouraged her to make a prompt referral.”
Sky simply said it noted the announcement. “We note the swift decision to now refer this to the CMA and will continue to engage constructively in this process.”