Thank you for contacting me about 21st Century Fox's proposed purchase of Sky.
Under the powers set out in the Enterprise Act 2002, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has a quasi-judicial role that allows her to intervene on the basis of specified media public interest considerations. These considerations refer to the need for there to be a sufficient plurality of media ownership, for the availability of a wide range of high-quality broadcasting and for those with control of media enterprises to have a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards objectives.
On 16 March 2017, the Secretary of State issued a European Intervention Notice on the grounds of media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards. This decision was made after hearing representations from Sky, 21st Century Fox and many other third parties.
This decision will now trigger action by Ofcom to assess and report on the public interest grounds specified and for the Competition and Markets Authority to report on jurisdiction. They each have 40 working days to prepare and provide these reports, which means they will be sent to the Secretary of State by Tuesday 16 May. At that point, the Secretary of State will resume her decision-making role.
The question of whether someone is fit and proper to hold a broadcasting licence is a different consideration to those outlined in the Enterprise Act 2002 and sits with Ofcom. Ofcom had previously announced that it would conduct its fit and proper assessment at the same time it would consider any public interest test, meaning following the intervention decision, Ofcom will conduct its assessment within the 40 working days it has to report on the specified public interests.