BSkyB takeover gets green light

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    3 March 2011
    Last updated at 03:13 ET

    Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has been given government approval for its controversial takeover of BSkyB.

    The green light follows News Corp’s offer to spin-off Sky News as an independent company.

    The decision follows concerns about the concentration of media outlets in the hands of one organisation.

    News Corp, which owns the Sun, the News of the World, the Times and the Sunday Times, is looking to take over the 61% of BSkyB that it does not own.

    A notice of consultation on News Corp’s undertakings has been launched and will expire on 21 March.

    Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, responsible for deciding whether to allow the takeover, said he believed News Corp’s offer to hive off Sky News would “address concerns about media plurality”.

    “The undertakings offered would ensure that shareholdings in Sky News would remain unchanged, and indeed offer it more independence from New Corporation than it currently has,” he said.

    News Corp has proposed that shares in Sky News be distributed among existing shareholders, with Mr Murdoch’s company maintaining its 39% holding.

    It would not be allowed to increase its shareholding without the permission from the culture secretary for 10 years.

    Mr Hunt said he had followed independent advice throughout the decision making progress.

    BBC business editor Robert Peston said Mr Hunt’s decision heralded “huge changes to the landscape of the British media industry”.

    A combined News Corp and BSkyB would generate revenues that would “dwarf all rivals, even the BBC”, he said.

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    BSkyB takeover gets green light