Possible end to Sky News if 21st Century Fox merger with Sky blocked


Sky News is a big player in British broadcast news (Source: Getty)

Sky could consider pulling the plug on Sky News if a merger between 21st Century Fox and the broadcaster is blocked, it said in a response to regulators published today.

Meanwhile, prominent hedge fund investor Crispin Odey said he now opposes the £11.7bn bid.

Odey, a Sky shareholder, said the offer from 21st Century Fox was starting to "look like it’s not a very good price", according to Reuters.

The proposed merger between Sky and 21st Century Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch, is being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The competition regulator has called for evidence on the effect a merger would have on “media plurality and a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards”. It is concerned the takeover would give Murdoch, who has long been one of the most influential media barons in the UK, too much control of the British media.

Read more: Legal challenge mounted against Ofcom's Fox/Sky findings

The CMA should not “simply assume the ‘continued provision of Sky News’ and its current contribution to plurality”, Sky wrote in its submission to the consultation.

The CMA’s consultation, released in October, said that competition in the broadcast media market would stay unchanged, with Sky News alongside the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5.

Sky would “likely be prompted to review” the status of Sky News if it stands in the way of a merger with Fox, the submission said.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley referred the proposed merger to the CMA in September.

In its separate submission to the CMA, also published today, Fox said: “It is important to recognise that there is in fact no one editorial position shared by the News Corp newspapers (The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Sun on Sunday) with which Sky News’ output could even theoretically be aligned.”

It also cites the “extensive reach” of the BBC, which Fox said ensured media plurality.

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

Tags: News Corp Sky