Murdoch Drops His Bid for Satellite TV Giant, BSkyB, in Wake of Scandal

The Guardian is reporting that, following a call from Britain's three major political parties that News Corporation withdraw its bid to take over the largest television provider in the U.K., News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch has done just that, leading Oliver Willis to tweet: "Is this the first time a Murdoch takeover bid has failed?"

I don't know the answer to that off the top of my head, but given the winning streak Murdoch had enjoyed until the methods and sources of his news operations were exposed in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, it feels like "yes."

The scandal broke anew, via an investigation by the Guardian, just as News Corp's planned acquisition of the TV giant seemed ready to sail through. As the daily drip of the scandal revealed not just the News of the World, but other Murdoch papers -- including the Sunday Times and the Sun -- involved in the scandal, Labour Party leader Ed Milliband outmaneuvered Prime Minister David Cameron of the Conservative Party by calling for the government to halt the takeover of BSkyB. Cameron likely felt hamstrung by his alliance with Murdoch; after all, Murdoch flunky Andy Coulson went on to become Cameron's communications director after an earlier incarnation of the News of the World scandal forced Coulson from his job as the paper's editor. A subsequent reignition of the scandal forced Coulson from his Conservative Party job in January, and, last Friday, he was arrested by London police for his role in the scandal.

(For backstory, see AlterNet'searlier reporting here.)

As to the current moment, here's a taste of the Guardian's live coverage, by Andrew Sparrow:

2.31pm: My colleague Polly Curtis has posted a picture of the BSkyB share price falling on Twitter.

2.28pm:Nick Clegg has said withdrawing the bid was the "decent and sensible" thing do to.

2.26pm: Here's the statement from News Corporation about the bid being withdrawn.

News Corporation ("News Corp") announces that it no longer intends to make an offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC ("BSkyB") not already owned by it.

Chase Carey, Deputy Chairman, President and Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation, commented: "We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate. News Corporation remains a committed long-term shareholder in BSkyB. We are proud of the success it has achieved and our contribution to it."


AlterNet / By Adele M. Stan

Posted at July 13, 2011, 4:07am

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