A Murdoch interfering in British politics? James claims the UK needs Fox’s Sky takeover
In what some have seen as a veiled threat towards the UK government, James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert, warned that failure to approve the billion-dollar bid to merge 21st century Fox and British company Sky would compromise the image of a post-Brexit Britain.
Speaking at the Royal Television Society Conference in Cambridge on Thursday, Fox chief executive and Sky Chairman James Murdoch warned Britain should approve the merger between the two media companies to show the world that the country will still be open to business once it withdraws from the EU in 2019.
“There is a huge opportunity for companies and countries willing to act decisively and capitalize on the economic and social benefit that this industry can create,” Murdoch said.
“Inward investment in the UK creative economy and the positive signal it sends to companies around the world is more important than ever as the UK prepares to chart its course outside the EU.”
Murdoch’s comments come after Cultural Secretary Karen Bradley referred the merger to the Competition and Markets authority over concerns about media diversity and broadcasting standards.
If the Fox bid is successful, it means Sky will join the Murdoch’s media empire, which already comprises of newspapers The Sun, the Times and TalkRadio.
It will give the family a bigger reach than any other media outlet except the BBC.
This is not the first time a Murdoch has been accused of interfering with government decisions.
Following the general election in June, which saw Theresa May embarrassingly lose her party’s absolute majority in the Commons, Rupert Murdoch faced allegations he had pressured the PM to reappoint now Environment Secretary Michael Gove to the cabinet.
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson wrote to the PM to demand to know whether Murdoch had asked her to reappoint Gove as minister under the threat of otherwise receiving negative media coverage.
The 2011/12 Leveson inquiry into media standards and ethics in the UK revealed that Murdoch had close contact with almost every Prime Minister in recent decades, including Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and David Cameron.
Light was also cast on the inner workings of the Murdoch empire in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.
The 168-year-old tabloid was forced to close after it was revealed its journalists hacked the voicemail messages of celebrities and VIPs, including Prince William, and even the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
Among those in the dock during the eight-month trial was a close family friend of David Cameron, as well as his spokesman Andy Coulson.