Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has said it welcomes the prospect of a “thorough and thoughtful” regulatory review of its planned £11.7 billion takeover of broadcaster Sky.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has said she was “minded” to order an Ofcom investigation into the deal amid concerns about media plurality and broadcasting standards.
In its response, 21st Century Fox said it did not believe the deal would result in “insufficient plurality” in the UK media.
“21CF welcomes a thorough and thoughtful regulatory review. We believe this transaction is in the interest of the UK, its creative economy and its consumers,” it said.
“For the past 30 years, 21CF and Sky have been broadcasters of good standing in the UK, a responsibility we take seriously.
“The UK has a thriving creative and media sector that is becoming increasingly more plural and we are confident that this transaction would not result in there being insufficient plurality in the UK.
“We will continue to work with all relevant regulatory authorities in assisting their reviews.”
After the broadcasters formally notified the European Commission of the planned merger last week, Ms Bradley wrote to both companies inviting them to make representations ahead of an announcement of a final decision on intervention in the week commencing March 13.
A decision to intervene would not block the deal, which envisages Fox paying £10.75 per share for the 61% of Sky it does not already own – valuing the Game Of Thrones broadcaster at £18.5 billion.
Instead, it would trigger an Ofcom assessment of public interest considerations as well as a Competition and Markets Authority report on jurisdiction, to be considered by Ms Bradley acting in a quasi-judicial role.