See More

Murdoch faces probe over BSkyB ownership

Mar 09 2012 09:31 Reuters

Related Articles

James Murdoch exits News International

News Corp makes more hacking settlements

US authorities probe Murdoch employees

BSkyB to launch online TV service

Murdoch suffers BSkyB revolt but hangs on

Murdoch to launch new tabloid

London - Satellite broadcaster BSkyB, part of Rupert Murdoch's UK media business, is facing an escalating investigation into whether it is a "fit and proper" owner of a broadcasting licence, Britain's telecoms regulator said on Thursday.

Ofcom said it set up a dedicated team in January known as Project Apple to investigate material emerging from the Leveson inquiry, and the police's investigations into phone-hacking and the corrupting of public officials.

The investigation is considering the status of both BSkyB chairperson James Murdoch and News Corp, which holds a 39.1% stake in broadcaster, as "fit and proper" persons to own the BSkyB licence.

"Ofcom has a duty under the UK Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996 to be satisfied that any person holding a broadcasting licence is, and remains, fit and proper to do so," the regulator said.

"New evidence is still emerging from hacking and corruption allegations. Ofcom is continuing to assess the evidence, including the new and emerging evidence, that may assist it in discharging its duties."

Murdoch has remained chairperson of BSkyB, despite stepping down as executive chairperson of News International, the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp group, last month.

If Ofcom rules against either of them, it could threaten James Murdoch's position or result in News Corp cutting its stake in BSkyB to a percentage that would shed its control of the company.

"Ofcom has written to, met and is in dialogue with the various authorities investigating the allegations. This includes the police, the relevant parliamentary committees and British MPs," Ofcom said.

Project Apple was discussed at a board meeting in January, and BSkyB's status to hold a broadcasting licence was also discussed in September and December, but only as part of the chief executive's report, Ofcom said.

BSkyB could not be reached for immediate comment.

Last summer Rupert Murdoch withdrew News Corp's planned bid to take full control of BSkyB after his company admitted phone-hacking at his UK newspapers.

News Corp ditched its £8.3bn pursuit of BSkyB after Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World following a political and public outcry resulting from the phone-hacking scandal.
bskyb  |  news corp  |  rupert murdoch  |  hacking scandal


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:


Johannesburg has been selected to host the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2017. "[The congress] will ensure that small business development remains firmly on the national agenda and the radar screen of all stakeholders, the Small Business Development minister said.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

People who fall victim to Ponzi scams are:

Previous results · Suggest a vote