UK approval of 21st Century Fox's $15 bn bid for Sky delayed due to early elections

The UK regulatory-review of 21st Century Fox's $15-billion bid to take complete control of British pay-television giant Sky plc will be delayed by a month due to the government's decision to hold snap parliamentary elections in June.

The UK regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) is to review whether the proposed acquisition will have any effect on competition in the media industry and also whether the merged company would be ''fit and proper'' to hold a broadcasting license.

Early this month, the European regulator approved the deal unconditionally.

British Prime Minister Theresa May last week called for a early election to be held 8 June, which automatically puts on hold any announcements that may likely to influence the outcome of the elections.

In December 2016, 21st Century Fox, the US entertainment company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, had offered to buy the remaining 61-per cent it does not already own in Sky for $14.6 billion (See: 21st Century Fox bids $14.6 bn for Sky Plc).

This is the second attempt by Fox to buy the whole of Sky. Its £7.8-billion offer in 2010 was derailed after it was revealed that two of Murdoch's newspapers had hacked into the mobile phones of celebrities and politicians, leading to a major scandal.

This failed attempt was made by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, which has since split into two distinct publicly traded companies, 21st Century Fox and the new News Corporation.

A successful deal would give Fox full control of a pay-TV network spanning 22 million households in the UK, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Italy.

It would also enhance Sky's leading position in entertainment and sports, and reinforce the UK's standing as a top global hub for content generation and technological innovation.

Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan Murdoch are both joint chairmen of 21st Century Fox and News Corp, while his other son, James Murdoch is the CEO of Fox.