Key British official signs off on News Corp.’s BSkyB offer


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Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. got a thumbs-up from a key British government official for the media giant’s proposed deal to take over British Sky Broadcasting.

The deal, which has gotten a lot of heat from media watchdogs and competitors, will still face a regulatory review, but the green light from Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport, is seen as pretty much a stamp of approval for News Corp. Murdoch’s company already owns several major newspapers in Britain, including News of the World.


News Corp., which already owns 39% of BSkyB, the largest satellite broadcaster in the region, has agreed to spin off its news network, Sky News, into a separate publicly held company to appease critics. After the spinoff, News Corp. would hold a 39% stake in Sky News and a 37% voting interest.

Terms of the deal still have to be agreed on. News Corp. has offered about $13 billion for the 61% of BSkyB it does not own. BSkyB shareholders are pressing to have the offer sweetened.

-- Joe Flint