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Tuesday 23 June 2015

Murdoch Uses Tories To Reach For Sky

It seems such a long time ago that Rupert Murdoch was looking forward to having his bid to take over the 61% of BSkyB that he did not already own accepted, having got compliant minister Jeremy Hunt (the former Culture Secretary) on side. That was, of course, before the scandal over the Dowler hacking and the subsequent closure of the Screws. But now, it seems, Rupe and his team are dusting off the bid.
That's how many goes I get at taking over a hundred bladdy percent of bladdy Sky, and don't you bladdy Pommie drongoes forget it!

At the time, as the Guardian reported, things looked bad for Murdoch: “The withdrawal represents the biggest single reverse of Murdoch's mercurial career, but may presage even further commercial damage not just in the UK, but worldwide. News Corp's current 39% stake in BSkyB could also still be at risk from the ‘fit and proper’ test for ownership being conducted by regulator Ofcom”. But how times change.
Leveson: kicked into the long grass

The Leveson Inquiry’s findings have been thus far ignored by most of the press, who have simply ditched the discredited PCC and set up its Mark 2 business-as-usual successor IPSO. What was intended to become “Leveson Part 2”, looking at the relationship between the press and the law enforcement agencies, has been kicked into the long grass by the Tories. As a result, the signs of a new bid for Sky are slowly emerging.

Last year, News Corp made an $80 billion bid for Time Warner. It was spectacularly unsuccessful, but significantly, after withdrawing the bid, the company was in good enough shape to buy back around $6 billion of its own shares. The Murdoch empire, given continuing sound financial health, should have no problem ponying up 61% of the value of Sky, which has a market capitalisation of around £18.6 billion.
To do so, Rupe and his pals would need to get a bid past the Government and the competition watchdog - but the latter did not have a problem last time round. And the Government is now a majority Tory one. But is this a serious idea? The behaviour of the Murdoch press is what gives the game away here: its shameless propagandising for Young Dave and his jolly good chaps has little other justification.
The coverage of one issue should make media watchers wary, and that is the Tories’ welfare proposals. Yesterday, the Sun was uncritical, tellingMr Osborne and Mr Duncan Smith are thought to have targeted housing benefit and tax credits as the main areas they want to cut … They said yesterday that  it would take at least 10 years to return the benefits bill to ‘sanity’, but insisted they will not flinch from the task in hand”.

Promotion of Osborne and Duncan Cough as principled and unflinching warriors was yet more grovelling in the Sunday Times, where they were awarded their own feature, titled “Our fight to make work pay better than welfare has only just begun”, backed by an editorial borrowing the Tories’ own words: “This is when we regain our sanity about benefits”. So what is the Quid Pro Quo? Rupe doesn’t do party propaganda for nothing.

Expect the Sky bid to return - and sooner rather than later. You read it here first, folks.

1 comment:

Malcolm Redfellow said...

There had to be a price for that slavish General Election support (not forgetting the blatant lies).

Why is Rebecca back?

Has la Sturgeon been bought as effectively as Wee Eck was?

When does Fox News launch in the UK?

Straws in the wind.