James Murdoch Warns British Government to Back News Corp.'s Takeover of BSkyB

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BSkyB chairman said the government should support the move or face losing Sky's continued investment in the U.K.

BSkyB chairman James Murdoch has warned the British government against not backing News Corp.’s bid for the 61% of BSkyB it does not own.

Speaking at an investor conference in Barcelona, Murdoch – who is chief executive and chairman of News Corp.’s Europe and Asian businesses -- said the government should back the takeover or face losing Sky’s continued investment in the U.K.

“I think from a policy perspective, the government really needs to assess the benefits of having a digital TV business that is a world leader, really centred in the UK marketplace with all of the things that it brings, versus potentially jeopardising an £8 billion investment in the U.K. with a prolonged plurality process,” he said, speaking at the Morgan Stanley TMT conference in the Spanish city.

“Governments around the world need to think about what investment in the media sector brings,” Mr Murdoch said.

Last month British business secretary Vince Cable referred the proposed takeover to the Communications regulator Ofcom, to evaluate it’s impact on media plurality. A separate European Commission investigation on the competition impact of the deal is taking place in parallel.

The initial regulatory phase is expected to conclude by the new year, but the process could be extended.

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