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The Latest: UK sees public interest concern in Sky takeover

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/29/2017
Campaigners from the community-based organization Avaaz, wearing a mask of Rupert Murdoch, right, and Prime Minister Theresa May, stage a protest opposite parliament in London, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Britain’s Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is ruling on whether to permit the proposed 11.7 billion pound merge of Sky and Twenty-First Century Fox. Bradley is set to offer her verdict Thursday. The merger would allow Rupert Murdoch to consolidate his power base in British media. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) © The Associated Press Campaigners from the community-based organization Avaaz, wearing a mask of Rupert Murdoch, right, and Prime Minister Theresa May, stage a protest opposite parliament in London, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Britain’s Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is ruling on whether to permit the proposed 11.7 billion pound merge of Sky and Twenty-First Century Fox. Bradley is set to offer her verdict Thursday. The merger would allow Rupert Murdoch to consolidate his power base in British media. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the U.K.'s examination of Twenty-First Century Fox's takeover bid for network Sky (all times local):

Campaigners from the community-based organization Avaaz, wearing a mask of Rupert Murdoch, right, and Prime Minister Theresa May, stage a protest opposite parliament in London, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Britain’s Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is ruling on whether to permit the proposed 11.7 billion pound merge of Sky and Twenty-First Century Fox. Bradley is set to offer her verdict Thursday. The merger would allow Rupert Murdoch to consolidate his power base in British media. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) © The Associated Press Campaigners from the community-based organization Avaaz, wearing a mask of Rupert Murdoch, right, and Prime Minister Theresa May, stage a protest opposite parliament in London, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Britain’s Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is ruling on whether to permit the proposed 11.7 billion pound merge of Sky and Twenty-First Century Fox. Bradley is set to offer her verdict Thursday. The merger would allow Rupert Murdoch to consolidate his power base in British media. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

12:20 p.m.

Campaigners from the community-based organization Avaaz, wearing a mask of Rupert Murdoch, centre right, and Prime Minister Theresa May, stage a protest opposite parliament in London, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Britain’s Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is ruling on whether to permit the proposed 11.7 billion pound merge of Sky and Twenty-First Century Fox. Bradley is set to offer her verdict Thursday. The merger would allow Rupert Murdoch to consolidate his power base in British media. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) © The Associated Press Campaigners from the community-based organization Avaaz, wearing a mask of Rupert Murdoch, centre right, and Prime Minister Theresa May, stage a protest opposite parliament in London, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Britain’s Culture Secretary Karen Bradley is ruling on whether to permit the proposed 11.7 billion pound merge of Sky and Twenty-First Century Fox. Bradley is set to offer her verdict Thursday. The merger would allow Rupert Murdoch to consolidate his power base in British media. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

British Culture Secretary Karen Bradley says that media regulators expressed concern that Twenty-First Century Fox's proposed takeover of Sky would give the Murdoch Family Trust material influence over news providers across all key platforms.

Bradley told the House of Commons on Thursday that this "potentially raises public interest concerns," and she is minded to refer the matter to the Competition and Markets Authority for further review.

Bradley says "these are clear grounds whereby a referral to a Phase 2 investigation is warranted — so that is what I am minded-to do."

Murdoch's media group is trying to buy the 61 percent of Sky it doesn't already own, giving Twenty-First Century Fox easy access to Sky's 22 million customers in the U.K., Ireland, Austria, Germany and Italy. Critics say would give Rupert Murdoch too much power in U.K. media.

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12:10 p.m.

Britain's government has referred Twenty-First Century Fox's takeover bid for European cable TV network Sky for more examination citing public interest concerns.

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told the House of Commons on Thursday she decided to refer the bid to the Competition and Markets Authority after receiving a report by the media regulator, Ofcom.

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9:15 a.m.

Britain's culture secretary is preparing to rule on whether Twenty-First Century Fox can take full control of the Sky cable television and broadband network in an 11.7 billion pound ($15.2 billion) deal critics say would give Rupert Murdoch too much power in U.K. media.

Karen Bradley is scheduled to give her verdict Thursday. Murdoch's media group is trying to buy the 51 percent of Sky it doesn't already own.

Critics argue the deal would give Murdoch too much influence over the British media, because his company already owns two of the country's biggest newspapers. Women who allege they were sexually harassed at Fox News also say the takeover should be blocked.

An earlier attempt to buy Sky was thwarted by the 2011 phone hacking scandal that rocked Murdoch's British newspapers.

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