The debate has been going on for some time now, with inquiries being carried out with Ofcom and Office of Fair Trading, but culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has now decided to give the takeover the green light.
What was he thinking.
By allowing News Corp to take the remaining 61% of BSkyB, he’s paved the way for the biggest media empire this country and the world have ever seen.
News Corp already own several newspapers bother here and across the pond such as The Sun, The Times and The Wall Street Journal. They own or have stakes in several websites such as MySpace and IGN. They also own the entirety of Fox and Fox News, notoriously the most biased ‘news’ TV station ever devised.
And now this alarmingly large network will take full control of the biggest commercial TV service in the UK with a further 10 million subscribers at it mercy.
The problem is that in this day and age, Media is the truly dominant power. It can single handedly win elections, start campaigns and sell you products you didn’t even want. The right word said on the right show, showing certain images in the news and not others – it’s not hard to get a massive group of people thinking the way you want them to.
Now combine this in with films, newspapers, websites and TV (all of which Murdoch has at his disposal) and you have a massive amount of influence and thus power.
Is it any surprise that the Murdoch’s are all very close to world leaders? They’re the ones who helped them get there and you do have to wonder if this is why Mr Hunt was so keen to allow them to take control of Sky (this would never had happened if Vince had had his way!).
To try convince us that this deal will all be fine and free of political/social bias, News Corp have agreed to the partial sale of Sky News to a new company. News Corp will hold onto 39% of the network with other investors holding 61%. There will also be a ban on News Corp employees chairing the board of Sky News.
But this still misses the point that News Corp will still have the biggest share of the News network and if needs be can push the stories they want through, only this time they’ll have the backing of the entirety of BSkyB.
And of course there is also the fact that a combined BSkyB with News Corp will have disgustingly high revenues and profits. As Robert Peston has rightly put it, the company will “dwarf all rivals, even the BBC”. It will become harder and harder for smaller commercial networks to compete with the might of Sky and it’s companion products, giving Sky near enough a monopoly in the commercial TV stakes.
Of course this deal has not quite been finalised yet. Murdoch still needs to convince the current Sky shareholders to sell out. He has already tried this unsuccessfully in June 2010 when he offered a combined total of £7.3bn for the company (700p per share). It’s speculated that his latest offer could be as high as £9.1bn (850p per share).
But other than cash, which isn’t much of a problem for Murdoch, News Corp has no barriers facing it’s acquisition of BSkyB and that’s a scary situation to be in…