News Corp is facing long Sky bid delay

Stephen Dinneen
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RUPERT Murdoch was yesterday assessing how much damage a probe into his proposed bid to bring BSkyB back under the News Corp umbrella could cause.

Business secretary Vince Cable stepped in to order a preliminary investigation into the bid by media watchdog Ofcom, with a full EU probe also on the cards.

At the very least News Corp faces a lengthy delay in a deal it had previously thought would be a formality.

Speculation was last night mounting that Murdoch is already weighing up plans to offload either Sky News, the root of recent “media plurality” complaints, or even his flagship Times newspaper. Media analyst Claire Enders, of Enders Analysis, told City A.M.: “If Sky News was sold, that would be problem solved as far as media plurality goes. But Sky News is an integral part of News Corp’s plans. It is also loss making and will remain that way, which would make it difficult to sell. The same goes for the Times.”

News Corp wants to buy the 61 per cent of Sky it doesn’t already own in a deal that would value the firm at £12bn.