“We have remained willing to work constructively with the regulatory authorities, and will continue to do so in the event of referral” to the competition authority for an extended review.
In a Friday letter signed by CEO James Murdoch and executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch, 21st Century Fox urged U.K. culture secretary Karen Bradley not to let politics affect her decisions about the regulatory review of the conglomerate’s deal to take full control of European pay TV giant Sky.
Bradley had last month said she was “minded to” refer the deal for an in-depth review on competition, or plurality, grounds, which is expected to last about six months. She is expected to make her final decision on such a referral by Thursday as the British parliament then takes its summer break.
“In light of the transaction’s benefit to the U.K. and the implications for delay, we would urge you to continue to ensure that political considerations are not allowed to cloud the decision-making process,” the Murdochs said in the letter published by Fox on Wednesday. It was sent by a deadline last week for comments on Bradley’s announcement that she was planning to ask for an extended review of the deal.
The Murdochs also urged Bradley “to be mindful” of media regulator Ofcom’s assessment that concessions offered by Fox “mitigate any issues that might have been present.” Ofcom had also said the company could offer further concessions, with Bradley saying she was minded to not accept the current concessions.
And they said that they “were disappointed to learn from the June 29 announcement that you are minded to refer our proposed acquisition” to the Competition and Markets Authority for an extended review. However, they also emphasized: “We have remained willing to work constructively with the regulatory authorities, and will continue to do so in the event of referral to the CMA on plurality grounds.”