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Decision on 21st Century Fox’s £18.5bn takeover of Sky plc to be made next week

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A verdict on 21st Century Fox’s £18.5bn takeover of Sky plc will be made next week by Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Fox wants to acquire the 61% stake in the company that it does not currently own.

The deal has already been approved by European Commission competition authorities.

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The deal was agreed last December.

However, there are concerns that the Murdoch family, which controls News Corporation – the owner of The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times – would end up controlling too much of the UK news market with Sky under its belt too.

Bradley said that she would be making the decision after receiving a report from broadcasting and telecoms regulator Ofcom and a separate one by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The verdict comes down to whether it is in the best interest of the public for the acquisition to go ahead.

Bradley’s decision will be announced to parliament by next Thursday.

In a statement, she said:  “I will aim to give my initial ‘minded to’ decision, publish the CMA and Ofcom public interest reports – in line with the Enterprise Act 2002 – and return to Parliament to make an oral statement by Thursday 29 June.

“There will then be an opportunity for representations to be made before I make a final decision.

“In the meantime, given the quasi-judicial nature of the process, I am unable to comment substantively on the matter of the case.

“My priority remains – as it has throughout this proposed merger – to make my decision independently, following a process that is scrupulously fair and impartial, and as quickly as possible.”

This isn’t the first time that Murdoch has tried to take complete control of Sky. News Corp made an offer for the broadcaster in 2011, but it fell through because of the phone hacking scandal.