The Government have asked Ofcom to conduct further analysis of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox (ASX:FOX) and their adherence to broadcasting standards.
The US corporation, which is owned by Murdoch and sons Lachlan and James, want to buy the 61 percent of Sky (LON:SKY) they do not already own in a £11.7 billion deal.
A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has said: “Any referral decision by the Secretary of State must be taken on the basis of a valid assessment of all the relevant evidence.
“For this reason the DCMS has asked Ofcom to advise on a number of points arising from these representations.”
In its statement made this week the DCMS said: “After assessing the large number of representations made in relation to the secretary of state’s referral decision, a number of these raise new evidence and/or comment on the Ofcom assessment. Any referral decision by the secretary of state must be taken on the basis of a valid assessment of all the relevant evidence. For this reason the DCMS has asked Ofcom to advise on a number of points arising from these representations.”
Shares in Sky fell almost by 5p to 963.54p after the DCMS announcement. They are close to their lowest numbers since news of the takeover bid emerged late last year.
The proposed deal has had a lot of resistance, particularly from campaign group Avaaz and high profile MPs including Ed Milliband.
On Monday MPs published a letter which said that the allegations that Fox News had colluded with the White House on a news story that was false showed a “brazen disregard for the ethics of journalism”.
The story said Seth Rich, a murdered Democratic Party employee, had leaked emails to Wikileaks.
Fox News contributor, Rod Wheeler, sued Fox News saying that the channel knowingly published false quotes and that the story was part of a plan to distract viewers from the Russia story and The White House. Wheeler said the plan was created by prominent Trump campaign donor, Ed Butowsky.