Media giant 21st Century Fox said it was “disappointed” after the Competition and Markets Authority, a British media regulatory body, ruled provisionally that it would not be “in the public interest” for the company to acquire Sky News and that such an acquisition presented “plurality concerns.”
“Regarding plurality, we are disappointed by the CMA’s provisional findings. We will continue to engage with the CMA ahead of the publication of the final report in May,” the company said in a statement on Tueday which still attempted to put a brave face on things.
“Today’s provisional findings move our proposed Sky transaction forward to the next phase of the regulatory review process,” the statement reads. “We welcome the CMA’s provisional finding that the Company has a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards and the transaction would not be against the public interest in this respect.”
Murdoch and his 21st Century Fox empire have long sought a complete takeover of the British news organization, of which they already own a significant stake. The multibillion-dollar deal, first announced in December 2016, requires final approval from the British regulator.
An attempt by Murdoch to get Sky seven years ago was derailed after one of his tabloids was involved in a phone hacking scandal surrounding British politicians.
The provisional failure at the CMA does not shut the door completely. According to the New York Times, the move puts the final call with British culture minister, Matt Hancock, who must rule by May 1.