Internet | September 21, 2017 5:00 am

21st Century Fox’s Bid to Buy Sky Satellite TV Faces Renewed Scrutiny

Fox News' sexual harassment scandal has jeopardized Rupert Murdoch's acquisition plans.

Rupert Murdoch’s longtime bid to gain control of Sky, the European satellite TV service, hit another snag on Wednesday.

Karen Bradley, Britain’s secretary of state for culture and media, officially referred 21st Century Fox’s bid to buy full control of Sky to Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority for more rigorous scrutiny, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Bradley asked the authority to determine whether Murdoch, his family, and 21st Century Fox executives are “genuinely committed to maintaining high broadcast standards,” according to the Times. The move was not unexpected, but is still a blow to Murdoch.

The primary issue under consideration is whether the deal gives Fox too much influence over British media. The company already owns The Times of London and the Sun tabloid newspaper. If this deal went through, Fox would also own a major provider of TV and radio news in Britain. Fox currently owns 39 percent of Sky. They have offered $15 billion to buy the remaining 61 percent.

Documents released Wednesday reveal that the U.K. government is wary of the deal in part because on ongoing journalistic and ethical problems at the U.S.-based Fox News. They include concerns that executives at the Fox parent company did not take reports of sexual harassment within Fox News seriously until a high-profile anchor, Gretchen Carlson, sued the former chairman of the cable networkRoger Ailes. So far, the spiraling sexual harassment scandal has resulted in the departure of Ailes, network co-president Bill Shine, as well as on-air hosts Bill O’Reilly and Eric Bolling.

The authorities also questioned the cable network’s repeated airing of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about the murder of Democratic National Committee staff member Seth Rich, who was killed during last year’s presidential election. Critics in Britain have already lodged dozens of complaints to the U.K. authorities against Fox News. As concern mounted, Sky chose to remove Fox News from its lineup in late August.

The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority has roughly six months to finish its investigation. Bradley ultimately decides whether or not the deal will go forward. 21 Century Fox executives remain confident, however, saying that they “look forward to engaging with the CMA on their in-depth review as soon as possible,” reports the LA Times.