Sky May Shut Down Sky News if It Impedes Fox Takeover

James Knowler/Getty Images
James Knowler/Getty Images

Sky has warned it could shut down Sky News if questions over the Murdoch family’s influence on Britain’s media landscape impede its purchase by 21st Century Fox.

Sky said it “would likely be prompted to review” whether or not to continue Sky News if “the continued provision of Sky News in its current form unduly impeded merger and/or other corporate opportunities available in relation to Sky’s broader business” in a submission to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), BBC News reports.

The CMA is investigating the proposed merger with a view to whether or not Fox’s acquisition of Sky would hand the Murdoch family too much influence over Britain’s media, with Sky News being added to The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times newspapers, which it already controls.

BBC media editor Amol Rajan described the warning as a “credible threat”, pointing out that Sky News loses “an awful lot of money” as things stand.

“It loses tens of millions of pounds, and I think the independent directors of Sky are sending a very clear message… that if they had to choose, maybe they’d prefer for commercial reasons to do the deal with 21st Century Fox rather than continue to fund the losses at Sky News,” he said.

Conservative and left-liberal leaning observers alike have raised concerns over the potentially stifling effect on competition which allowing the Murdochs to gain outsize influence over British media could entail.

“Being as wary of private monopolies as State monopolies, I am glad that the potential merger… has been referred [to the CMA],” said UKIP Culture and Arts spokesman David Meacock recently.

He added, however, that the BBC would “still be reaching a higher number of the UK population were the Fox/Sky merger to be allowed,” and suggested that breaking up the publicly-funded broadcaster might be a higher priority.

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