Government warns News Corp over BSkyB bid probe

The government said it was thinking about referring News Corp's proposed £7.5bn buyout of BSkyB for a prolonged investigation.

The media regulator had examined the deal over fears it would give News Corp's Rupert Murdoch too much influence over the media and public opinion.

The government said that Ofcom had recommended that the deal should be referred to the Competition Commission but Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would first consider proposals put forward by News Corp to alleviate competition concerns.

"As a result of these meetings and my consideration of the Ofcom report and subsequent submissions from the parties involved I still intend to refer the merger to the Competition Commission," Hunt said in a statement.

"On the evidence available, I consider that it may be the case that the merger may operate against the public interest in media plurality.

"However, before doing so it is right that I consider any undertakings in lieu offered by any merging party which have the potential to prevent or otherwise mitigate the potential threats to media plurality identified in the Ofcom report."