21st Century Fox takeover of Sky: Pressure group mounts legal challenge to Ofcom findings

Oliver Gill
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Chelsea Flower Show - Press Day 2016
Rupert Murdoch's (left) 21st Century Fox is attempting to buy the shares it does not already own in Sky (Source: Getty)

A global pressure group has mounted a legal challenge to a decision by Britain's broadcasting watchdog to provide a key sign-off 21st Century Fox's takeover of Sky.

Avaaz today launched a judicial review seeking to quash Ofcom's conclusion that 21 Century Fox fulfilled the "fit and proper" test.

Ofcom also recommended the deal was to be probed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on the grounds of media plurality but not on the basis of broadcasting standards. However, culture minister Karen Bradley decided to ignore one of the two recommendations by Ofcom, asking the CMA to review the deal on both grounds.

Avaaz says Ofcom made "basic factual errors" in coming to their conclusion and is mounting the legal challenge "because only Ofcom has the power to decide who is fit to hold a UK broadcasting licence".

Read more: Karen Bradley confirms in-depth CMA probe for 21st Century Fox's Sky deal

Ofcom hit back at the allegations. A spokesperson said:

We will defend our ‘fit and proper’ assessment, which was independent, expert and based on the evidence.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is trying to buy the 61 per cent of Sky shares it does not already own. The takeover has been the subject of intense political and regulatory scrutiny and follows a previous attempt by Murdoch's News Corporation to buy what was then known as BSkyB.

Read more: Fox-Sky takeover given more competition hurdles to clear

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