Ofcom delve into BSkyB buy up

Ofcom is beginning an investigation of News Corp’s plan to purchase BSkyB, under orders of the Business Secretary. News Corp plans to purchase the 61 per cent of the broadcasting company it does not already own.

Under urging from the heads of Channel 4, BBC, and the Mail, the Telegraph, the Mirror, and the Guardian newspaper groups, the Business Secretary directed Ofcom to particularly investigate the concerns of media plurality.

The concern is that, with its existing control of News International, News of the World, the Sun, Times and Sunday Times, News Corp will have too concentrated a hold on media in the UK and that competition would suffer as a result.

News Corp says that their investment in BSkyB will not negatively impact media plurality within the UK and that they look forward to taking on the talking point with any relevant authorities that wish to do so.

The media group stated further that they fully expect their plan to be approved.

The European commission has also started its own investigation of the impact of News Corp’s acquisition of BSkyB on competition and will be reporting 8 December.  Ofcom will have to make its report to Vince cable, the Business Secretary on 31 December and he will then have to decide what he will do regarding the Competition Commission.

News Corp had earlier informed the board at BSkyB that it would pay seven pence a share for control of the satellite broadcasting company, but made no official offer.  BSkyB board members are said to believe that price is too low.