Vince Cable goes to Ofcom over News Corp BSkyB takeover

BSkyB takeover, not backed by Cable
BSkyB takeover, not backed by Cable

Business secretary Vince Cable has issued an intervention notice to Ofcom over the proposed takeover of BskyB by News Corp.

This means that Ofcom will now have to investigate News Corp's proposal and report back before the end of the year.

Cable has been critical about News Corp's intentions with BSkyB, ever since the first takeover bid back in June.

Currently News Corp has 39 per cent of the company but is vying for the other 61 per cent.

It is the dominance in the media market which is the worry for Cable, given that News Corp also owns a number of national newspapers in the UK.

In a statement, Cable said about News Corp's intentions: "On the basis of the information and submissions available to me, I have decided that it is appropriate to issue an intervention notice in this particular case.

"The independent experts at Ofcom will now investigate and report to me on the media plurality issues that may arise from this proposed acquisition."

Cable guy

Cable's worry is also backed by Labour, with shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis noting: "Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB have been a force for good in improving the quality of broadcasting for British consumers and stimulating investment in our creative industries.

"But the Murdoch empire has sometimes crossed reasonable boundaries with overzealous business practices and the assertion of political power.

"There is a case to answer, and the public interest can only be determined through proper scrutiny by the competent authorities."

The move by Cable will be a difficult one for the Conservatives to swallow. Murdoch's newspaper The Sun changed political allegiance in the run up to the last election to Conservative, so there's no denying where his political motives lie.

However, a spokesperson for prime minister David Cameron did say of Cable: "He is a member of the Government. He supports the decisions made by his Cabinet."

Ofcom's decision about the takeover will come before 31 December.

Via the Independent

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.