The Competition and Markets Authority is set to publish their findings in mid-January, rather than the initial date of December 18. A CMA spokesman told the Guardian: “It is not unusual for us to update our 18 timetables. In this case, we have received a large body of evidence – including numerous face-to-face hearings and more than 12,000 submissions – so it is vital that we spend the time to reach an informed and considered provisional view.”
The move comes as the CMA investigates the deal, particularly how the Murdoch Family Trust’s control over Sky News might change after a merger; what potential influence the trust would have on the political agenda; and Fox, Sky, the trust and News Corp’s approach to corporate governance.
It also comes amid reported interest from Disney to acquire Fox. Deadline reported last week that talks were heating up again between the media giants after reaching an impasse over price. The Burbank-based entertainment conglomerate is interested in acquiring Fox’s film and television studio, a number of cable television networks, its 39% stake in UK satellite television provider Sky and India’s Star TV, as well as its 30% share of the Hulu streaming service.
In September, UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley referred Fox’s £11.7B takeover bid for Sky to the CMA for review on the grounds of media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards. It was the latest in a long series of roadbumps for Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to buy the long-coveted 61% of pay-TV giant Sky that Fox does not already own.
The CMA is expected to send its final recommendations to Bradley by March 6.