5 items from 2017
British authorities have received yet more clarification from media regulator Ofcom on 21st Century Fox’s attempted takeover of Sky, with a decision on whether to refer the deal to competition authorities still pending. Despite having received the go-ahead in all other relevant territories where Sky operates, the deal has been bogged down by regulatory investigations and government indecision in the U.K.
Culture minister Karen Bradley said before Parliament’s summer break that she needed more time to decide whether to refer the $15 billion deal in whole, or part, to British competition authorities. She then asked Ofcom to look at unspecified new evidence pertaining to the deal, evidence thought to relate to the conduct of Fox News in the U.S. Fox has since yanked the channel from the Sky platform in the U.K., officially because of low viewing figures.
Bradley’s department confirmed it had received Ofcom’s latest report on Aug. 25, and »
- Stewart Clarke
James Murdoch says he is confident 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky will be approved, but not until 2018 – leaving his company on the hook for a hefty financial penalty on top of the $15 billion it is shelling out for the pan-European pay-tv service.
Under the terms of the takeover, Fox must pay a 10p-per-share special dividend to Sky shareholders if the acquisition does not close before year-end, meaning a payment of about £171 million ($222 million). Of that amount, £66.3 million would be cancelled out as Fox already owns 39% of Sky. The rest would go to Sky’s independent shareholders. An additional £200 million payment is due if the deal falls through.
Fox has unsuccessfully lobbied the British government for a speedy resolution to its scrutiny of the proposed takeover of sky, not least because of the potential cost if there are further delays. Murdoch’s stated confidence in the deal’s eventual approval came as regulators take another »
- Stewart Clarke
In seeking official British approval of its Sky takeover bid, 21st Century Fox offered several concessions, but evidently not enough to convince the government that the deal wouldn’t concentrate too much power in the hands of the new combined entity. Experts also questioned the enforceability of Fox’s pledge to keep Sky News editorially independent.
A report from British media regulator Ofcom, published Thursday, revealed that Fox offered to establish an independent editorial board for Sky News with final say over which stories made it to air, as well as over political comment and opinion. Fox said the Murdoch family and Fox executives would be prohibited from attempting to influence any editorial decisions at the TV news channel, which is seen as a key safeguard given the editorial control Rupert Murdoch has historically exercised over his newspapers, including The Times of London and The Sun.
Ofcom said that, post-merger, Sky News »
- Stewart Clarke
Prime minister and Labour leader will appear one after the other after BBC says it does not want to ‘embarrass’ May by featuring empty chair
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will appear one after the other on a BBC Question Time general election special, in a compromise deal agreed after the prime minister refused to take part in head-to-head debates.
The two main party leaders will answer questions from a TV studio audience in York in a programme hosted by David Dimbleby. It matches a similar format agreed before the last election when David Cameron refused to appear on the same stage as Corbyn’s predecessor Ed Miliband.
Related: General election 2017: May and Corbyn to appear on BBC Question Time leader special – politics live
Related: The UK has more billionaires than ever. Under Labour we’ll all be on the rich list | Rebecca Long-Bailey
Yay! Finally May has agreed »
- Matthew Weaver
Ed Miliband’s appearance on Channel 4 chatshow The Last Leg saw him have another go at a bacon sandwich photoshoot – this time in a leather jacket, on a motorbike – and form the Ed Mili-Band to performing a cover of a-ha’s Take on Me in various states of 80s dress. He also made a risque joke about David Cameron munching a hotdog – “I think he’s saying: ‘Tastes better than it feels’” – that the Huffington Post reported with a verdict of three fire emojis and an announcement that it had “destroyed” the former Pm.
It takes a lot of persuading to get a politician to turn up and poke fun at themselves, according to The Last Leg’s main host, »
- Rebecca Nicholson
5 items from 2017
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