Sky News could be axed if Fox merger is blocked

Could Sky News go off the air?
Could Sky News go off the air?
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TV channel Sky News could be shut down if 21st Century Fox's £11.7 billion takeover bid for Sky is blocked.

The deal is currently being scrutinised by the competition watchdog on the grounds of media plurality and broadcasting standards.

Sky said in a submission to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that the anti-trust regulator should not assume "the continued provision" of Sky News.

"The CMA should not in its assessment simply assume the 'continued provision of Sky News' and its current contribution to plurality.

"Sky would likely be prompted to review the position in the event that 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, such as the transaction (with Fox)," Sky said.

In particular, the broadcaster would be further pressed to take the action if shareholders reacted badly to the takeover not taking place.

21st Century Fox is controlled by the Murdoch family - Rupert and his sons Lachlan and James - and the deal is aimed at seizing control of the 61% of Sky it does not already own.

The CMA has around six months to investigate the merger and provide Culture Secretary Karen Bradley with advice, after which she must then come to a final decision on whether or not the merger can proceed, including any conditions that will apply in order to do so.

The CMA also faces the task of delving into claims of misconduct at Fox in the US, which have ranged from alleged racial and sexual harassment to making up quotes.