Media baron, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has taken a huge step forward. The UK government has cleared the way for the company to fully acquire satellite television company British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSkyB). The government gave the signal after accepting News Corp’s undertakings on media plurality concerns.
News Corp, which is the world’s third-largest media conglomerate and owns Fox Broadcasting, 20th Century Fox movie studios, The Wall Street Journal, The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times, had earlier in June 2010 announced its intentions to take over Britain’s largest pay TV operator BSkyB completely.
News Corp currently owns around 39 per cent of BSkyB and plans to buy the remaining 61-per cent stake for a sum of almost £7.8 billion ($12.7 billion).
The government has also issued a notice of consultation seeking views as to whether News Corp’s undertakings are sufficient after considering that it is likely to draw heavy criticism from the public on media plurality raised by the merger. The closing date for responses is fixed as 21 March.
News Corp has offered to distribute the shares in the company amongst the existing shareholders of BSkyB in line with their shareholdings, with News Corp retaining a 39 per cent stake.