U.K. Government Delays Review of Fox Bid for Sky Due to Election
By Stu Woo
LONDON -- The U.K. government's decision to hold snap parliamentary elections in June will delay by a month the regulatory-review process for 21st Century Fox Inc.'s $15 billion bid to buy the 61% of U.K. pay-television giant Sky PLC that it doesn't already own.
U.K. culture secretary Karen Bradley said Friday that she has given media regulators an extra month to determine whether Fox's full ownership of Sky would be in the British public's interest. The regulators' deadline to submit their report, which was previously May 16, is now June 20.
Ms. Bradley is a lawmaker expected to retain her seat in the June 8 election.
Media regulators are reviewing whether Fox's ownership of Sky would maintain "plurality" -- or diversity of viewpoints -- across the British media. They also have broad authority to determine whether Fox would be a "fit and proper" owner of Sky.
After the review is submitted, Ms. Bradley can clear the merger, refer it to Britain's competition authority for further review or ask Fox to make concessions.
A Fox spokeswoman on Friday referred to a statement from earlier this month, in which said it looked forward to working with British authorities and was confident the merger would be approved.
Rupert Murdoch and his family are major shareholders of Fox and News Corp. Fox and News Corp, which also is the parent company of The Wall Street Journal, were part of the same company until it split in 2013.
Write to Stu Woo at [email protected].com