News Corp bid expected to get OFT go-ahead

RUPERT Murdoch’s News Corp’s proposed £13.2bn takeover of of satellite broadcaster BSkyB is expected to get the go-ahead from secretary of state Jeremy Hunt by the end of this week, avoiding a full Competition Commission investigation.

Senior BSkyB sources told City A.M. they expected Hunt to announce his decision as soon as this afternoon, which is likely to put the bid out to a 15-day public consultation, avoiding a Competition Commission inquiry which could take as long as six months.

News Corp has submitted a series of undertakings to the Office of Fair Trading to satisfy its concerns that its takeover of the remaining 61 per cent of BSkyB would unduly concentrate the UK’s media sector.

The undertakings include an offer to secure the editorial independence of both BSkyB and Sky News in the merged entity and potentially even make structural changes such as selling off Sky News to secure the deal.

News Corp made a 700p per share bid for BSkyB’s remaining stock in June 2010.

Sources close to News Corp yesterday said there had been a lot of back and forth with the regulators after the company submitted its proposals.