Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Murdoch Empire does a U-turn in order to have BSkyB bid passed to watchdog, Murdoch Empire buys time in hope that public anger will move on, clever!
Rupert Murdoch has pulled a fast one; he has had his £8 billion bid to take over BSkyB referred to regulators yesterday by withdrawing assurances regarding the sky news aspect of the business.
By doing so, The Tories shoved the problem nimbly on to the Competition Commission.
They will now be asked to adjudicate on deal; it was a clever move to by time by the Murdoch Empire because any decision will be delayed until next year.
BSkyB shares have dropped almost 11% as the Murdochs seek to escape the media attention and public anger.
The News of the World has been sacrificed over revelations it had hacked into the phones of murder victim Milly Dowler and the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The virus has spread to The Sun and the Sunday Times with fresh allegations most notably that Gordon Brown’s children possibly had their medical records hacked into.
For the Tories, this is also a problem given the closeness of Cameron to Rebekah Brooks of News International.
Prime Minister David Cameron needs to buy time and distance from the Murdoch Empire.
So, he wants the bid to be suspended in the wake of the most recent allegations, saying:
“I would be focused on clearing up the mess that there is in News International with all those problems that are coming out. Deal with that before you move on to working out which merger and which takeover and how many shares and all the rest of it.”
Cameron is aware the damage being done to him by association and his judgment over Andy Coulson, formerly of the News of the World.
For Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg this is an opportunity, he is leading a number of LibDems and Tory backbenchers who want Murdoch to do the “decent thing” and reconsider his bid for full control of BSkyB.
Murdoch wants BSKYB because it is a cash cow and represents the future of media news broadcasting, of which he currently owns 39%.
At Westminster, there is much anger as MPs questioned whether Mr Murdoch’s News Corp organisation, the parent company of News International, was a “fit and proper” holder of a broadcasting licence in the light of recent allegations.
For the Tories as I said this is a political disaster, Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt had previously decided not to send the deal to the Competition Commission, but reversed his position yesterday after News Corp withdrew the undertaking to spin off one central part of the business, Sky News.
Hunt has a difficult experience at the dispatch as he fought to hold the line but he was robotic in parroting out what must have been a previously agreed plan.
Hunt told MPs the Competition Commission would be able to consider “all relevant recent developments” in evaluating the proposed merger.
And he also said he had written to Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator.,
He wants them to consider whether News Corp would still be considered a “fit and proper” owner if recent allegations were proven.
Hedging his bets and looking to be seen to be doing something.
Murdoch is in London for crisis talks with News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks and the company’s chairman, his son, James, someone has to go, that someone is Rebekah Brooks.
As long as she stays, the Murdoch Empire can’t shift the focus off them.
She is so toxic that David Cameron has said that she should resign despite Brooks and Cameron being close and attending each other parties.
Then there is the Police aspect after claims where made by Labour MP Chris Bryant that Assistant Commissioner John Yates lied to Parliament.
Assistant Commissioner John Yates buried the phone hacking scandal, citing at the time no new evidence, as such his position is untenable and there are calls for him to resign as well.
Home Secretary Theresa May today has given her full backing to Met Yates as calls for his resignation continue.
May said Mr Yates, that he is doing a "very good job" and that she had confidence in him.
Theresa May’s statement shows the Tory line, everyone has to stick together to try and ride out the storm.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University