Blocking News Corp’s takeover bid of BSkyB could lead to a reduction in the number of UK news providers, according to the broadcaster.
Sky’s board told Ofcom, which is investigating any plurality issues concerning the bid, that denying the sale would be “contrary to the public interest”.
Most national media outlets in the UK have voiced concerns that any deal would give News Corp a near-monopoly on the UK media landscape.
Rupert Murdoch’s company, which also owns the Sun, News of the World, Times and Sunday Times, wants to buy the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own. But BSkyB argued that a block would deter it from expanding its news operations.
“A conclusion that the transaction would result in a loss of plurality could perversely increase the risk of that very situation by undermining the incentives which have resulted in the provision of Sky News to date… [by restricting] any merger or acquisition opportunities which may be available to Sky.”
BSkyB said that the deal would not affect its independence and pointed out that Sky News only has a seven per cent share of the UK news TV market.
This article appears in issue 262 of Media Digest.