Regulators Find BSkyB Fit to License ; British Ruling Provides Relief to News Corp. in Wake of Hacking Scandal

By Ravi Somaiya; Alan Cowell | International Herald Tribune, September 21, 2012 | Go to article overview

Regulators Find BSkyB Fit to License ; British Ruling Provides Relief to News Corp. in Wake of Hacking Scandal


Ravi Somaiya; Alan Cowell, International Herald Tribune


British regulators concluded that British Sky Broadcasting was "fit and proper" to hold a broadcast license, offering a victory for its biggest shareholder, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

British regulators concluded Thursday that the country's biggest satellite pay-TV group, British Sky Broadcasting, or BSkyB, was "fit and proper" to hold a broadcast license, offering a victory for its biggest shareholder, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., after months of being embroiled in the phone hacking scandal engulfing his British media outpost.

In a lengthy and detailed ruling, the Office of Communications, known as Ofcom, appeared to exonerate Mr. Murdoch in the hacking scandal while raising questions about the "competence" of one his sons, James, who oversaw his family's British media holdings for years. The regulator found that James Murdoch "fell short" in his handling of the hacking scandal and in his "attitude toward the possibility of wrongdoing in the companies for which he was responsible."

Ofcom announced its conclusions in a statement after months of inquiries about the standing of BSkyB, in which News Corp. holds a 39 percent stake.

Mr. Murdoch had been promoting a $12 billion bid to acquire full control of BSkyB when the scandal involving phone hacking by newspaper journalists broke over other parts of his British media outpost, particularly The News of the World tabloid, raising questions about BSkyB's status as a broadcaster. It was not immediately clear whether the ruling would encourage a revival of the bid.

"Ofcom considers that on the evidence currently available and having taken into account all the relevant factors, Sky is fit and proper to hold its broadcast licenses," the regulator's statement said. …

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