Decision on Murdoch Sky bid is delayed

Steve Dinneen
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RUPERT Murdoch will have to wait a little longer to get his hands on the rest of BSkyB.

The decision to clear News Corp’s impending £7.5bn bid for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own has been delayed for at least two weeks while details of the concession to spin-off Sky news are thrashed out.

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt provisionally gave News Corp the green light to go ahead with the bid after it agreed to appoint an independent board to run Sky News as a completely separate company for ten years in order to preserve media plurality.

Critics of the bid say Murdoch, who also owns the Times and News of the World newspapers, will wield too much power over UK media.

BSkyB said it had no update on the matter and would continue to cooperate with the regulatory process.

News Corp offered 700p a share for Sky last summer, which was rejected by the board.

However, Sky’s blistering run of form recently has led to calls from some investors for a bid of over 900p a share. In the last quarter its profits rose to £261m on sales that shot up to £1.65bn from £1.46bn.

Meanwhile, Sky has asked a court to overrule Ofcom’s “dramatic intervention” in setting its wholesale prices for Premier League football. Sky’s lawyer said the firm should not be punished after investing billions in the sport, and said Ofcom has no right to set prices below the market rate.