Mar 18, 2017

Rupert Murdoch's messy week, courtesy of Fox News

Evan Agostini / AP

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is hoping to take over European broadcasting company Sky TV, but confusion around the White House repeating unsubstantiated Fox News reports on British wiretapping of Trump Tower could make it more difficult for Murdoch to get regulatory approval of the deal in the U.K.

  • Why it matters: Regulators and politicians opposed to the deal worry not just of the potential control the purchase would give the Murdoch's but also of their ability to handle another news organization responsibly. Many point to the Murdoch's poor handling of a 2012 phone hacking scandal that involved employees of the Murdoch-owned (now-defunct) News of the World tabloid, as an example of negligence by Murdoch's son James Murdoch, chief executive of Fox and Chairman of Sky.
  • The deal: Murdoch is hoping to take over Sky TV for $11.4 billion, potentially giving him what U.K. Culture Secretary Karen Bradley alludes to as being too much control over the British media market. (Twenty-First Century Fox already owns 39% of Sky TV and Murdoch already owns The Times and The Sun newspapers).
  • The timeline: Bradley punted the decision to the British communications regulatory body Ofcom for their insight, and they have until mid-May to investigate whether the deal would give Murdoch too much control and whether he would be able to meet British broadcasting standards with full ownership.
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