Rupert Murdoch’s bid for full ownership of BSkyB has been referred to the Competition Commission by Britain’s government.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt acted after News Corporation withdrew an offer to spin off Sky News into a separate firm as part of the bid.
The opposition wanted action earlier.
“It is important to remember the original recommendation from Ofcom was precisely for a referral to the Competition Commission,” said Labour Party leader Ed Miliband. “We supported that, but Mr Hunt ignored the advice. Whatever the twists and turns of the government, I will accept nothing less than some straight talking that this bid will not proceed until after the criminal investigation is complete.”
Media magnate Murdoch has flown into London to try to save the deal for the satellite broadcaster. He has shut his best-selling News of the World paper as it is hit by ever growing phone hacking allegations.
Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged Murdoch to reconsider his bid for BSkyB. He said:
“Rupert Murdoch is now in town, in London, seeking to sort things out, and I would simply say to him, ‘Look how people feel about this, look at how the country has reacted with revulsion to the revelations. So, do the decent and sensible thing and reconsider. Think again about your bid for BSkyB’.”
As Murdoch tries to weather the storm, News Corporation shows no sign of giving up its bid. And despite calls for her to quit, ex-News of the World Editor Rebekah Brooks remains at the helm of their UK media empire.