It is being reported that News Corporation are to withdraw their bid to take full control of BSkyB.
News Corporation have confirmed that they are withdrawing their bid to take full control of BSkyB. Pressure was growing on News Corp. to withdraw their bid in light of the phone hacking scandal which brought down News of the World on Sunday. News Corp. were looking to take full control of the profitable BSkyB but have said in a statement today that they will remain a committed, long term shareholder in the company as they currently own 39.1% of the satellite broadcaster.
A debate and vote was due to be held later in the House of Commons on stopping Rupert Murdoch’s bid to take control of BSkyB. All three main political parties were expected to back a motion put forward by Labour. The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has welcomed the news today stating that it was the “decent and sensible” thing to do. Labour leader Ed Miliband has also said that this is a victory for the people. Prime Minister David Cameron has also welcomed the decision.
“We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies, but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate” – News Corp.
The bid had been referred to the Competition Commission on Monday after News Corp. withdrew their undertakings which would have seen Sky News being spun-off in interests of media plurality. That announcement meant the Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt had to refer the bid proposal to the Competition Commission for consideration. It had been said that Murdoch was overly keen to take full control of BSkyB as it was hugely profitable, more so than his newspaper company News International.
The Prime Minister announced today Lord Justice Leveson will oversee the inquiry into phone hacking and press regulation and will have powers to call members of the media, politicians and anyone else involved in the matter under oath. The PM said he wants the inquiry to began as soon as possible and will be split in two, looking at the current scandal and press regulation. It will also look into the relationship between politicians and the media, a situation which has contributed to the scandal of the past fortnight.