Fox launches £11.7bn Sky takeover bid

James Pearce
Published on:

Deal would see Rupert Murdoch take full control of the broadcaster and telecoms provider, five years after he withdrew a bid amidst political pressure

21st Century Fox has reached an agreement to take full control of British broadband and TV provider Sky for £11.7 billion.

The deal comes five years after Fox owner Rupert Murdoch attempted to buy Sky through another of his assets, News Corporation. Ultimately, Murdoch withdrew the bid in July 2011 after pressure from politicians and the media.

The takeover bid from Fox, which values Sky at around £18 billion, will still need regulatory approval and culture minister Karen Bradley has 10 days to decide if it should be referred to regulator Ofcom. Murdoch’s son James Murdoch is currently chairman of Sky and also CEO at Fox.

A spokesperson for 21st Century Fox said: “"The strategic rationale for this combination is clear. It creates a global leader in content creation and distribution, enhances our sports and entertainment scale, and gives us unique and leading direct-to-consumer capabilities and technologies.

"It adds the strength of the Sky brand to our portfolio, including the Fox, National Geographic and Star brands."

The takeover bid is already being met with opposition from a number of politicians, who have raised doubts about media plurality should the deal be approved. Murdoch owns The Sun and The Times newspapers through News International, and would be in control of one of the UK’s biggest broadcasters were the deal approved.

According to the Independent, Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said: "The secretary of state (Bradley) must refer the bid to Ofcom, to assess whether it would result in too much media power being concentrated in too few hands, and whether Rupert and James Murdoch are 'fit and proper persons' to run a broadcaster.“

“Labour's position has been consistent throughout; the Government cannot be allowed to ditch the vital second part of the Leveson Inquiry, which would look at questions around unlawful or improper conduct within the Murdoch empire, at exactly the moment when Rupert Murdoch is attempting once again to strengthen his hold over the UK media.”