Fox’s Sky Consolidation Proposal Officially Referred to CMA

Analyst warns delays lessen chances of deal receiving approval

21st Century Fox’s years-long journey to consolidate its interests in British satellite company Sky suffered another delay Wednesday when U.K. regulators officially referred the matter to the Competition and Markets Authority, a move that will add at least another six months to the process.

The move was expected after U.K. Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said earlier in the month she would refer the proposal to the CMA. Bradley had voiced concerns about Fox’s commitment to public broadcast standards as well as corporate governance. U.K. politicians had also expressed concerns that the deal would give Fox’s ruling Murdoch family undue influence over British media. But the referral was not automatic in that the public had a chance to weigh in. That period has apparently passed, failing to sway officials.

In an earlier statement, when it appeared the referral was likely, Fox said it looked forward “to engaging constructively with the CMA, as independent authority, and hope that the findings of this process will be respected by the Secretary of State.”

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