Business secretary Vince Cable has intervened in Rupert Murdoch’s intention to buy out the remaining shares of BSkyB, by referring the case to Ofcom for investigation.
Ofcom will investigate the £12 million bid by Murdoch to determine any media plurality issues. It will have until the 31 December to come to a conclusion, and its findings will decide whether Cable refers the case to the Competition Commission, which could block the bid entirely.
“On the basis of the information and submissions available to me, I have decided that it is appropriate to issue an intervention notice in this particular case,” Cable said. “The independent experts at Ofcom will now investigate and report to me on the media plurality issues that may arise from this proposed acquisition.”
Murdoch’s News Corporation remains confident that Cable’s intervention will not affect the bid drastically, claiming it was “confident that the proposed investment will not adversely affect media plurality in the United Kingdom”.
The issue is with Murdoch’s dominance in the British media and press – he owns top-selling papers such as the Sun and Times – and his ownership of BSkyB would hand him power over the majority of the subscription TV arena, resulting in the danger of consumers getting information and services from one – somewhat controversial, given its ownership of Fox News – media conglomerate.
As previously reported, UK media has united in umbrage at the idea, but it will be Cable’s decision that will determine whether it goes ahead.
Image taken by Flickr user bisgovuk, licensed under Creative Commons.