Confirmed: Sky deal referred to watchdog for review

The UK government has confirmed that 21st Century Fox’s planned £18.5 billion (US$24.6 billion) takeover of Sky will be referred to the Competition and Markets Authority.

Karen BradleyCulture secretary Karen Bradley (pictured) announced her final decision today, after saying earlier this week that she was minded to refer the deal over concerns about both broadcasting standards and media plurality.

“Yesterday I received letters on behalf of both parties to the merger confirming that while they disagree with my minded-to decision, they would not be making substantive representations inrelation to it,” said Bradley.

“As a result, I can confirm my final decision is to refer the merger to the CMA for a Phase 2 investigation on media plurality and genuine commitment to broadcasting standards grounds.”

The CMA now has 24 weeks – roughly six months – to investigate the merger and report back with advice to the government.

Bradley will then come to a final decision on whether the merger will proceed, including any conditions that should apply in order for it to do so.

In a statement, Sky said: “We note the swift decision to now refer this to the CMA and will continue to engage constructively in this process.”