U.K. Extends Regulatory Review of Fox's Sky Deal Due to Snap Election
Deadlines for the reviews by Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority have been pushed back from May 16 to June 20.
The U.K. regulatory review of 21st Century Fox's proposed deal to take full control of European pay TV giant Sky is getting extended by about a month now that the British government has called for a snap election in early June.
U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said the reviews by communications regulator Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be extended from May 16 until June 20.
Once their reports are received by Bradley, "my decision-making role in this process would resume," the secretary said in a statement. "Given the proximity of this decision to the forthcoming general election and following discussions with the parties, Ofcom, the CMA and the Cabinet Office Propriety and Ethics team, I wrote to Ofcom and the CMA on Friday … to extend the period by which these reports should be submitted."
Fox in December reached a deal to buy the remaining 61 percent of Sky that it doesn't yet own for more than $14 billion.
If the regulators have no concerns, Bradley would approve the bid. If they do raise concerns, she would have to decide if the government can accept an "undertaking" from Fox to address the concerns. In 2011, for example, the company suggested spinning off news channel Sky News before the bid was abandoned.
"In light of the general election, the secretary of state, Karen Bradley, has extended the deadline for submission of the public interest report into the proposed Fox/Sky merger," Ofcom said Friday.
"As Ofcom has previously said, the issues we are required to consider in the public interest assessment may overlap with our own consideration of Sky’s fitness to hold broadcasting licenses," it added. "Given this overlap, we are extending the consideration of our fit and proper assessment, and expect to reach conclusions on 20 June."