Media groups’ plea to Cable to block BSkyB deal

BBC and BT are among the media groups to have written to Vince Cable for him to stop NewsCorp’s proposed takeover of BSkyB.

The two join Channel 4, Associated Newspapers, DMGT, Guardian Media Group, Telegraph Media Group and Trinity Mirror who have all signed a letter to the business secretary, which says the proposed deal will impact on media pluarity in the UK.

Murdoch’s News International news already own The Times, The Sun and News of the World newspapers. NewsCorp currently owns 39 per cent of BSkyB.

NewsCorp is proposing a 700p-a-share buyout of BSkyB that would value the firm at £8bn.

The letter, signed by the companies’ chief execs including Trinity Mirror’s Sly Bailey and GMG’s Andrew Miller, points out that if the deal went ahead, NewsCorp’s UK interests would top that of the BBC’s, and could threaten the future of other UK press and TV groups.

Another signatory is BBC director general Mark Thompson, who appeared on US TV last week calling for the UK government to look at BSkyB’s plans.

He told PBS host Charlie Rose that the move represented a “potential abuse of power.”

Reports have suggested that Cable would only seek an intervention from media regulator Ofcom once a deal has officially been struck.

NewsCorp is believed to be seeking approval for the deal from the European Commission, which Cable could follow with a full public inquiry.

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