Karen Bradley, the UK’s culture secretary, has confirmed that the proposed merger of 21st Century Fox and Sky has been referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for examination. In a speech to the House of Commons, Ms Bradley said: ‘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. I will issue and publish my formal referral decision in the coming days. I will also publish the substantive representations I have received during this process shortly.’ Notably, the minister also confirmed that, while she had received letters on behalf of both Fox and Sky saying they disagreed with the decision to pass the matter to the CMA, both companies have confirmed they will not make ‘substantive representations in relation to it’.
The CMA now has 24 weeks to investigate the proposed tie-up and provide the culture secretary with advice regarding the matter, following which she will make a final decision on whether the merger can proceed, including any conditions that would apply should it be permitted to do so.