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US: Sexual harassment scandal hinders Fox’s Sky bid

 |  October 25, 2017

Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment scandal is causing more headaches for 21st Century Fox’s (Fox) £11.3 billion (US$15.1 billion) bid to take full control of UK cable network Sky.

Revelations that US-based Fox News renewed O’Reilly’s contract after he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for US$32 million came just a month after Britain’s culture secretary asked competition regulators to review the takeover.

Karen Bradley said one of the reasons for her decision was that Fox News’ handling of a broader sexual harassment scandal raised concerns about corporate governance at Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

Soon after the New York Times broke the story about O’Reilly’s contract renewal, a senior member of the British opposition Labour Party said he planned to ask the regulator to reject the takeover.

“More revelations about the corporate culture at 21st Century Fox,” deputy leader Tom Watson tweeted. “It shouldn’t be allowed to take over Sky.”

Murdoch’s media group wants to buy the 61 per cent of Sky it doesn’t already own. The takeover values Sky, which broadcasts Premier League soccer, at £18.5 billion (US$24.5 billion).

In September Bradley asked the Competition and Markets Authority to evaluate the takeover in light of Fox’s commitment to broadcasting standards and the deal’s impact on media plurality in the UK

That decision initiated what may be a six-month investigation into Murdoch’s drive to consolidate his media empire, bringing renewed attention to the mogul’s holdings. With Murdoch already owning the Sun and The Times newspapers, there are concerns that he and his company will wield too much power in Britain.

Full Content: Washington Post

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