Murdoch, savaged in parliament, pulls British TV bid

LONDON, (Reuters) – Rupert Murdoch withdrew his bid  for British broadcaster BSkyB today in the face of  cross-party hostility in parliament following allegations of  widespread criminality at one of his tabloid newspapers.
The move pre-empted by a couple of hours a planned vote in  parliament that had all-party support for a non-binding motion  urging the Australian-born media magnate to drop a buyout offer  which was a major part of his global expansion in television
“News Corp announces that it no longer intends to  make an offer for the entire issued and to be issued share  capital of … BSkyB not already owned by it,” the  U.S.-listed parent of the global media empire said.
News Corp owns 39 percent of BSkyB, which owns Sky News and  a range of profitable pay-TV channels.
“It has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in  this climate,” deputy chairman Chase Carey said in a statement,  adding that News Corp would remain “a committed long-term  shareholder”.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who has faced awkward  questions about his own relations with Murdoch, welcomed the  news: “The business should focus on clearing up the mess and  getting its own house in order,” he said through a spokesman.
Opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband said it was a victory  for those who had opposed the extension of Murdoch’s power.
Earlier, Cameron told parliament Murdoch should drop the bid  while police investigated allegations that the News of the World  hacked the voicemails of thousands of people looking for stories  and also bribed police officers for information.
The press baron, who for decades has been both feared and  courted by British politicians of all parties, shut down the  168-year-old Sunday tabloid last week in an effort to stem the  scandal and save the BSkyB bid. But there was no stopping the  flow of allegations and it had looked politically untenable.
Summoning a degree of national unity rarely seen outside  times of war, all parties were due to endorse a motion later today in parliament that was to urge Murdoch to drop it. It  was unclear if that formal vote would now go ahead, after hours  of debate in which hostility to Murdoch was unanimous.

Around the Web

Comments