The Murdoch family has cranked the pressure up on the UK government, describing the handling of its Sky takeover as a test for how far the country is “open for business”.
The Murdochs’ 21st Century Fox is currently waiting to hear whether culture secretary Karen Bradley will refer the deal to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for a full investigation.
It is understood that 21st Century Fox did not offer any concessions to encourage Bradley not to refer the deal for a deadline last Friday. But Bradley did receive a letter from the sons of Rupert Murdoch, Fox’s executive chairman Lachlan and chief executive James, last Friday, which the company published today.
They said their £11.7bn bid for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own “underscores our profound confidence in the future of the UK as a global hub for creativity and technological expertise”. They said they were disappointed by her 29 June announcement that she was minded to refer the deal to the CMA over media plurality concerns.
“While we await the outcome of the regulatory process, important investment decisions will inevitably need to be deferred,” the letter said.
“There is also the broader risk of a potential harmful effect on other companies’ inward investment decisions currently under consideration in the UK.
“As one of the first, and the most significant investment to be proposed following last year’s referendum on exiting the EU, our proposed transaction will be carefully scrutinised by others keen to gauge the government’s commitment to creating a climate conducive to investment, or in the words of the Prime Minister and several of your fellow ministers, ‘open for business’.”