Ofcom to investigate News Corp’s bid for BSkyB

Business secretary Vince Cable has ordered media regulatory body Ofcom to investigate News Corporation’s bid to take full control of BSkyB. It isn’t the first time such moves have been controversial, the showbiz empire behind ATV Network was also held to such account in the 1970s.

Ofcom has until the end of the year, 31st December, to report back to Vince Cable. The European Commission who are also investigating the impact that the purchase will have the competition will report its findings by 8th December. News Corp want to wants to buy the remaining stake in BSkyB which it currently does not own, currently standing at 61%.


News Corporation currently owns News International in which owns the set of Britain’s biggest selling newspapers, The Sun and News of the World alongside The Times and Sunday Times. A statement released by News Corporation says “News Corporation is confident that the proposed investment will not adversely affect media plurality in the United Kingdom and looks forward to discussing any substantive issues with the relevant authorities.”


Many fear that if News Corporation takes full control of BSkyB it would set them on a different level to many of its competitors and making them one of the biggest media companies in the UK. The shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis wrote in The Guardian today that “The Murdoch empire has sometimes crossed reasonable boundaries with overzealous business practices and the assertion of political power.” He went on to say that Labour would support the current government’s final decision.

The showbiz world was dominated in the 1950s, 60s and 70s by the company behind ATV Network – ACC. The company had concerns in theatre, radio, television broadcasting and TV and film production companies as well as a talent agency. By the late 1970s the government brought in new regulations to “stop” such an empire being created again. They did note however the ACC company – operated by Lord Lew Grade – had never willingly given itself the upperhand, but should the corporation get into ‘the wrong hands’ in the future it could well do they decided at the time. The new regulations saw much of the ACC empire being sold off.