Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Murdoch Bid Mired In Controversy

Rupert Murdoch bidding to takeover BskyB

By Ben Aulakh

Media owner Rupert Murdoch will find out in the next few days if his attempt to take a majority 61 per cent share of British Sky Broadcasting has been successful.

The bid from the Aussie magnate’s Newscorp has been mired in controversy after the Business Secretary Vince Cable was removed from the decision making process by the Prime Minister.

Mr Cable told an undercover reporter that he had “declared war on Mr Murdoch;” responsibility for the decision was then handed to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

However The Guardian newspaper revealed last week that Mr Hunt had held secret meetings with Rupert Murdoch’s son James, Chief Executive of Newscorp.

At the meetings – which were held just before the Newscorp bid made was made on June 28 – no civil servants were present, a strict contravention of parliamentary conduct.

BBC business editor Robert Peston said on the corporations news website that if the deal did go ahead, it would “erase any scintilla of doubt that Mr Murdoch's Newscorp would be the most powerful of all the traditional media groups in the UK.

“The combination of Sky with his newspapers would generate annual revenues of around £8bn, compared with the £4.6bn income of the next largest player, the BBC.”

Mr Hunt has also stated on his own website that he is a “cheerleader for Rupert Murdoch’s contribution to the health of British Television.”

A recent ICM poll – also conducted by The Guardian – found that of 2000 people, 44 per cent were opposed to the deal, with just 5 per cent in favour.

A petition launched by action groups 38 Degrees and Avaaz opposing the takeover has also been signed by more than 24, 000 people.

The media regulator Ofcom will give it’s recommendations on the whether the deal should go ahead to the Culture Secretary by Friday,  he will then decide whether or not to give it the go ahead.

Murdoch’s Newscorp already owns the Times and Sunday Times newspapers, the Sun and News of the World Tabloid’s, along with a share of BskyB.

No comments:

Post a Comment