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News Corp. pulls Sky News spin-off plan

BSkyB takeover faces further delays

LONDON — News Corp. has torn up a plan that would have fast-tracked its takeover of U.K. paybox BSkyB.

Rupert Murdoch’s company announced Monday that it was withdrawing undertakings it had made to the government that would have stopped the deal from being referred to anti-trust agency the Competition Commission.

The company had promised to relinquish control of BSkyB’s news channel Sky News as part of its proposed deal with the government, in order to answer concerns about the deal’s alleged threat to media plurality.

Responding to News Corp.’s decision, the government later confirmed that the takeover would be passed to the Competition Commission to see whether it would contravene rules on plurality. This is likely to delay the deal for several months.

News Corp. said in a statement: “News Corporation continues to believe that, taking into account the only relevant legal test, its proposed acquisition will not lead to there being insufficient plurality in news provision in the U.K.”

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