DTI orders Competition Commission to probe Sky deal

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has referred BSkyB’s acquisition of a 17.9% stake in ITV to the Competition Commission. Its decision follows submissions made last month from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and media regulator Ofcom.

The OFT said Sky’s acquisition meant that ITV was no longer fully independent, while Ofcom believes the transaction raised public interest issues. The DTI today referred the case to the Competition Commission on both grounds.

The Secretary of State Alistair Darling (pictured) will make a final decision after the commission has carried out its inquiry. It is expected to report back to the DTI in November.

BSkyB could be forced to sell its stake, which it bought last November while rival NTL, now Virgin Media, was attempting to buy ITV.

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