News Corp. Responds to U.K. Regulator's BSkyB Decision, Comments on James Murdoch

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The conglomerate says it is "pleased" with the BSkyB decision, but disagrees "with certain of the report’s statements about James Murdoch’s prior actions as an executive and director."

LONDON - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. on Thursday said it was "pleased" by U.K. media regulator Ofcom's ruling that pay TV giant BSkyB remains a "fit and proper" holder of a broadcast license.

However, the conglomerate, which owns a 39 percent stake in BSkyB, took issue with some of its comments about former BSkyB chairman James Murdoch, deputy COO of News Corp. and son of Murdoch, and his handling of the phone hacking scandal, which was a driving factor in the Ofcom review.

“We are pleased that Ofcom recognizes BSkyB as a fit and proper holder of a broadcast license and remain proud of both News Corp.’s and James Murdoch’s distinguished record in facilitating the transformation of Sky into Britain’s leading pay television and home communications provider," News Corp. said in a statement.

“We are also pleased that Ofcom determined that the evidence related to phone hacking, concealment and corruption does not provide any basis to conclude that News Corporation and Rupert Murdoch acted in a way that was inappropriate, and that there is similarly no evidence that James Murdoch deliberately engaged in any wrongdoing," the conglomerate added.

But it also emphasized: “We disagree, however, with certain of the report’s statements about James Murdoch’s prior actions as an executive and Director, which are not at all substantiated by evidence. As Ofcom itself acknowledged, James deserves credit for his role as chief executive, then chairman and now non-executive director, in leading Sky to an outstanding record as a broadcaster, including its excellent compliance record." 

Ofcom had said about the former BSkyB boss: "We consider James Murdoch’s conduct, including his failure to initiate action on his own account on a number of occasions, to be both difficult to comprehend and ill-judged."

Some observers had wondered earlier in the day whether James Murdoch may give up his BSkyB board seat following the Ofcom decision.

News Corp.'s statement concluded by saying: "We look forward to Sky’s continuing to execute on its mission to provide viewers with the best television experience imaginable, and are honored to play a role in the many contributions it makes to Britain, its people, and its economy.”


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