Murdoch must wait extra month to learn fate of Fox-Sky deal

Bill O'Reilly forced out at Fox News
Bill O'Reilly forced out at Fox News

Rupert Murdoch will have to wait an additional month to learn the fate of his planned takeover of British pay TV provider Sky.

U.K. culture secretary Karen Bradley said Friday that she will give regulators extra time to review the contentious deal because of snap national elections scheduled for early June.

The decision from media regulator Ofcom, which had been due by May 16, must now be wrapped up before June 20.

The £18.5 billion deal struck by Murdoch in December would give his 21st Century Fox (FOX) control over the roughly 60% of Sky (SKYAY) that it doesn't already own.

The deal has attracted the attention of government ministers and regulators because of concerns that Fox's ownership of Sky would reduce the mix of viewpoints available in British media. Murdoch already owns three of Britain's biggest newspapers: The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.

Ofcom could also kill the deal if it decides that Murdoch and 21st Century Fox do not meet the standard of "fit and proper" owners. The criteria for the designation are broad: The regulator says it considers "any relevant misconduct" when administering its "fit and proper" test.

The review comes amid unprecedented turmoil at another Murdoch property: Fox News.

In just nine months, the U.S. cable news channel has lost its founder and its biggest star to sexual harassment scandals.

Former CEO Roger Ailes was shown the door in July following accusations of misconduct. On Wednesday, anchor Bill O'Reilly was also given the boot.

Related: Nine months of sex harassment scandals take down two Fox News icons

Alice Enders, head of research at Enders Analysis, told CNNMoney earlier this month that accusations of sexual harassment at Fox are unlikely to sink the Sky deal. But Ofcom will examine whether Fox executives erred in not telling investors about the claims made against O'Reilly.

Sky has 22 million customers in five European markets: Italy, Germany, Austria, the U.K. and Ireland. It is the largest pay TV provider in Britain.

European anti-trust regulators have already given their blessing to the deal.


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