Thank you for contacting me about Leveson and 21st Century Fox's proposed purchase of Sky.
You may be aware that the Government recently held a public consultation on the Leveson Inquiry and its implementation. I am informed that over 140,000 responses were received and Ministers will respond to the consultation in due course. As for Part 2 of Leveson Inquiry the 2017 Conservative manifesto committed that this should be terminated.
As you will also be aware, Sky has received an approach from 21st Century Fox to acquire the 61 per cent share of Sky that it does not yet already own.
Under the powers set out in the Enterprise Act 2002, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has a quasi-judicial role that allows her to intervene on the basis of specified media public interest considerations. These considerations refer to the need for there to be a sufficient plurality of media ownership, for the availability of a wide range of high-quality broadcasting and for those with control of media enterprises to have a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards objectives.
On 16 March 2017, the Secretary of State issued a European Intervention Notice on the grounds of media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards. This decision was made after hearing representations from Sky, 21st Century Fox and many other third parties.
This decision triggered action by Ofcom to assess and report on the public interest grounds specified and for the Competition and Markets Authority to report on jurisdiction by 20 June.
Following this, on 29 June the Secretary of State released her minded-to - not final - decisions on whether to refer the merger to a full phase two investigation. More details of these can be found on the below webpage:
The Secretary of State came back to the Commons on 20th July having received representations. She has not taken a definitive decision as yet but she stated to the Commons,
“I can…….confirm to the House that, having carefully reviewed the parties’ representations, and in the absence of further proposed undertakings, I am currently still minded to refer on the media plurality ground and still minded not to accept the undertakings in lieu of a referral.”
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.