Hysteria made me drop Sky bid: Murdoch

RUPERT Murdoch yesterday blamed “hysteria” for his decision to drop a takeover bid for satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

In comments that underlined his anger at having to drop New Corp’s offer for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own, the media mogul suggested his competitors and detractors had capitalised on the public mood, forcing him to retreat.

He said: “A lot of people had different agendas I think in trying to build this hysteria. All our competitors in this country formally announced a consortium to try to stop us and they caught us with dirty hands and they got the story around.”

He added: “I think a mood developed which made it really impractical to go ahead.”

Murdoch was forced to drop the bid earlier this month. Although he could return with another offer within six months, company sources indicate he is unlikely to make a repeat bid for several years at least.

News Corp still faces the prospect of having to sell down its 39 per cent stake in BSkyB, which it could be forced to if media watchdog Ofcom decides that it is not a “fit or proper” owner in light of the phone hacking allegations.