Brits OK Murdoch Mega TV Deal

News Corp to buy BSkyB, spin off Sky News
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2011 3:03 AM CST
News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch testifies on Capitol Hill Washington.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

(Newser) – The British government has given the green light to Rupert Murdoch's biggest deal in the nation for decades. Murdoch's News Corp will be allowed to increase its stake in pay-TV giant British Sky Broadcasting from 39.1% to 100%, on the condition that it spin off its Sky News subsidiary into a separate company with a board of independent directors to ensure editorial independence, AP reports. The buyout is expected to cost News Corp some $14 billion.

The deal—which could still be challenged in court—has been fiercely opposed by groups including an alliance of newspapers worried about Murdoch tightening his grip on Britain's media even further. "Throughout this process I have been very aware of the potential controversy surrounding this merger," Britain's culture secretary said after approving the deal. "Nothing is more precious to me than the free and independent press for which this country is famous the world over."

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