Britain to delay decision on News Corp./BSkyB deal: reports
The British government is expected to delay its decision on Rupert Murdoch's bid to take full control of pay-TV giant BSkyB until September, according to several reports on Thursday.
The move will be taken in the wake of a phone hacking scandal at the News of the World tabloid owned by Murdoch's News International, according to Sky News and the Financial Times.
Before the latest allegations on the hacking broke, News Corp. last week moved closer to controlling BSkyB after the government noted that plans by the suitor to turn Sky News into a new company allayed fears that Murdoch would gain too much power in Britain's media sector.
Despite the government backing, Culture and Media Minister Jeremy Hunt decided last week to extend consultations until this Friday to strengthen state proposals aimed at tackling competition fears.
A final decision was then broadly expected next week.
British media watchdog Ofcom, which is advising Hunt over the takeover, said on Wednesday it was "closely monitoring" the allegations, adding that it had a duty to probe whether broadcasters were "fit and proper."
The reports Thursday said Hunt would now delay the decision until September.
News Corp. is bidding to buy the 61-percent of BSkyB it does not already own.
© 2011 AFP