Murdoch near BSkyB deal

Watchdog said to be close to greenlighting ownership bid

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is reportedly close to securing a deal with U.K. regulators for its bid to acquire the 61% of paybox BSkyB, currently valued at $13.2 billion, that it doesn’t already own.

An agreement with the Office of Fair Trading is imminent, clearing the path for the deal to be sealed as early as next month, according to Friday’s Financial Times.

Quoting people familiar with the process, the FT claimed that News Corp. was nearer to satisfying objections that combining full ownership of BSkyB with its other assets would reduce the diversity of news provision in the U.K.

The implication is that to secure agreement from the government for the purchase, the conglom could cede control of Sky News.

This would be a big win for Murdoch, who is worried that any delay to the takeover would see a further hike in BSkyB’s stock price, and he is therefore keen to avoid a lengthy review by the U.K. Competition Commission.

Last year the European Union said there was no basis upon which to oppose the deal on competition grounds.

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