News Corp changes tack in BSkyB bid

News Corp's BSkyB bid sky high at the moment
News Corp's BSkyB bid sky high at the moment

News Corporation has announced that it is withdrawing its previous suggestion that it would spin Sky News off into a separate company if it was to take full control of BSkyB.

This move comes after the closure of the News of the World and will mean that News Corp's bid for BSkyB will be referred to the Competition Commission.

There had been major concerns over News Corp's attempt to take full control of BSkyB – mainly due to the fact that there would not be enough plurality in the UK's news offerings.

The separation of Sky News into a separate entity to BSkyB was meant to be a sweetener for the UK government to accept the takeover bid.

Now that the News of the World is no longer around, however, News Corp has changed tack and now wants to retain control of Sky News and send the whole thing to the competition commission.

Competition time

"News Corporation today announces that it is withdrawing its proposed undertakings in lieu of reference to the Competition Commission with respect to its proposed acquisition of BSkyB," said the statement.

"Should the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport decide on this basis to refer the proposed transaction to the Competition Commission for a detailed review, News Corporation is ready to engage with the Competition Commission on substance."

The statement continued: "News Corporation continues to believe that, taking into account the only relevant legal test, its proposed acquisition will not lead to there being insufficient plurality in news provision in the UK."

With more and more hacking revelations being revealed, one thing News Corp does need is time – and if the Competition Commission does feel that the takeover would break the UK's anti-monopoly laws, then the buyout would be put on hold.

According to the Guardian, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said to MPs that he is to "now refer this [the bid] to the Competition Commission with immediate effect".

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.