On 3 March 2017 21st Century Fox, Inc notified the European Commission of its intention to acquire the shares in Sky plc it does not already own. Sky controls a number of broadcast licences, and Ofcom has an ongoing duty to remain satisfied that broadcast licensees are fit and proper to hold a broadcast licence.
On 16 March 2017 the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport issued a European Intervention Notice requiring Ofcom to report on the effects of the proposed transaction on two public interest considerations: plurality and commitment to the attainment of broadcast standards. Having received our report, the Secretary of State will decide whether the merger should be referred to the Competition and Markets Authority for a more detailed review before taking a final decision on whether the merger should go ahead.
The issues we have been required to consider in the public interest assessment overlap with our own consideration of Sky’s fitness to hold broadcast licences in the event of the merger going ahead.
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