The U.K. culture secretary Karen Bradley will also have to decide whether Fox's bid for Sky should be subject to a public interest test. If she decides that it should, U.K. communications regulator Ofcom would have to assess whether the deal should go through based on whether it allows for enough media plurality. When Bradley was asked about whether she would refer the bid to Ofcom on the BBC's Today radio program this morning, she said it was not possible for her to comment until she received formal notification of the bid.
This is the second time Murdoch has attempted to buy the remaining portion of Sky. In 2010, a bid for the company by News Corporation failed amid a scandal in which reporters from its U.K. newspaper News of the World hacked the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, as well as celebrities.
The scandal saw the closure of the paper and the resignation of senior executive Rebekah Brooks (who returned to run News UK in 2015), and News Corp took out advertisements in U.K. papers apologizing.
In 2013, the business split its assets into two companies with U.K. newspapers the Times, Sunday Times and Sun under News Corp, and Fox's assets including its news channel and movie studio being part of 21st Century Fox. Analyst Thomas Singlehurst previously suggested to CNBC that this change of structure would help it get through the approvals process.
Sky, 21st Century Fox and the European Commission declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.com.
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