Rupert Murdoch's plans to buy out the remaining shares in BSkyB have been given a massive boost, as the British Government has okayed News Corps proposal. He will be allowed to increase the corporation's shareholding from 39 per cent to 100 per cent, but in return must split Sky News from the package.
Sky News will be, therefore, spun-off as an independent company, in which News Corp will retain its existing shares. Other current shareholders will be given equivalent shares in the new venture.
In doing this, News Corp is addressing Government worries that a complete takeover would give Murdoch's organisation too large a control over the UK's media, being as it also owns national newspapers and online news services, the Sun, the News of the World, the Times and the Sunday Times.
However, even without Sky News, the move will still make News Corp the most powerful media company in the UK, with revenues expected to be higher than all competitors, including the BBC.
Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was responsible for greenlighting the decision believes that by removing the news channel from the proposal, he cannot see any further problems: "The undertakings offered would ensure that shareholdings in Sky News would remain unchanged, and indeed offer it more independence from News Corporation than it currently has," he said.
A notice of consultation on News Corp's undertakings has now been launched, which will expire on 21 March.
It is understood that Sky Sports News is not part of the News division, so will be part of the takeover, which also includes Sky 1 and the other Sky Sports channels.
Photo by World Economic Forum.
What do you think? Will this give Murdoch too much power over the British media? Does the plot of Tomorrow Never Dies spring to mind? Let us know in the comments below...