Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Firestorm' of Anger Sees Bid Plan Scrapped; Miliband Hails Murdoch Move as 'Victory'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Firestorm' of Anger Sees Bid Plan Scrapped; Miliband Hails Murdoch Move as 'Victory'

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Woodcock

MEDIA tycoon Rupert Murdoch dramatically withdrew News Corporation's pounds 8bn bid to take over satellite broadcaster BSkyB yesterday in response to the "firestorm" of public and political anger over phone hacking at the News of the World.

The move came shortly after Prime Minister David Cameron appointed senior judge Lord Justice Leveson to head a public inquiry into the hacking allegations - and just hours before MPs were expected to back a Labour motion condemning the takeover plans.

Mr Cameron said News Corp had made "the right decision" in dropping its bid to buy the 61% share in BSkyB which it did not already own, while his deputy Nick Clegg described it as "the decent and sensible thing to do". Labour leader Ed Miliband hailed the development as "a victory for people up and down this country who have been appalled by the revelations of the phone hacking scandal and the failure of News International to take responsibility".

The collapse of the takeover bid was announced by News Corp deputy chairman Chase Carey, who said it had "become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate". The company would remain "a committed long-term shareholder in BSkyB".

Shares in BSkyB rallied slightly after the announcement from a low of 683.5, but remained significantly below the 850p they achieved earlier this month on hopes of a deal with News Corp.

BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the broadcaster remained "very confident in the broadly based growth opportunity" for its business.

Downing Street said that the Prime Minister received no advance notice of the announcement, which came less than two hours after his statement to MPs setting out the terms of the inquiry.

Welcoming the development, Mr Cameron said it was time to get on with the inquiry and with the continuing police investigation into claims that News of the World reporters illegally eavesdropped on phone messages. …

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