NewsCorp close to sealing BSkyB deal

NewsCorp is edging closer to reaching an agreement with the Office of Fair Trading over its bid to buy BSkyB, according to reports.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned media company has tabled a £7.8bn bid for the remaining 61% stake in the satellite broadcaster that it doesn’t already own.

Quoting anonymous sources, The Financial Times said NewsCorp is “much nearer than previously reported to satisfying objections that combining full ownership of BSkyB with its other assets would reduce the diversity of news provision in the UK”.

The paper said that while details haven’t been disclosed, sources told the FT the resulting changes would be “structural” rather than “behavioural”.

This means NewsCorp could relinquish control of Sky News, according to the FT.

In January, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he would refer the bid to the Competition Commission. However, he later decided to let NewsCorp conduct talks with the OFT and Ofcom to establish a possible agreement.

If an agreement is struck, Hunt will have the final say over the proposed buyout. It will then go through a 15-day public consultation.

This week, NewsCorp confirmed its £415m buyout of TV production company Shine Group. Rupert Murdoch bought the company, which makes shows including Masterchef and The Tudors, from his daughter Elizabeth, who founded it in 2001.

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