Murdoch's Empire Warily Looks To London
It was not clear how Thursday's explosive events concerning Rupert Murdoch's London tabloid News of the World would affect other properties owned by Murdoch's News Corp. They include not only a slew of newspapers in the U.K., but also the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post in America, The Australian in Australia, the Fox broadcast network and Fox News Channel, and the 20th Century Fox film studio. Of immediate concern to the media corporation, however, is its effort to acquire the 61 percent of BSkyB, Britain's largest commercial broadcaster, that it does not already own. In recent days, Prime Minister Cameron has indicated that only the question of whether the acquisition would affect competition would be considered by regulators -- and that matter had already been settled, in News Corp's favor. Final approval had been expected to be authorized within days. But this morning (Friday) news reports indicated that the government now plans to delay a decision until at least September. While declining to name a specific date for a decision, a spokesperson for the British Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), said that its head, Jeremy Hunt, "will take as long as is needed" to reach a decision. He added, "He will consider all relevant factors, including whether the announcement regarding the News of the World 's closure has any impact on the question of media plurality." Today's London Financial Times observed that with the public anger escalating over the BSkyB deal, "behind the scenes the government had been scrambling to see if it could find a legal loophole to delay or even halt the takeover."