Guidance note for public interest test

04 November 2010

Ofcom has today published a Guidance note setting out the process and timetable for preparing our report on the public interest consideration we have been asked to look at in relation to News Corporation's intention to acquire the shares in BSkyB it does not already own.

On 3 November 2010 News Corporation made the formal notification to the European Commission of its intention to acquire the shares.

The Secretary of State for Business has today issued a European intervention notice specifying the public interest consideration in section 58 of the Enterprise Act 2002, concerned with the sufficiency of plurality of persons with control of media enterprises.

The Secretary of State has requested Ofcom to report by 31 December.

Ofcom's role is to conduct an initial investigation into the public interest consideration and to provide advice and recommendations on it which may be relevant to the Secretary of State's decision on whether he should refer the case to the Competition Commission for further analysis.

Ofcom's investigation will focus on the effects of the merger on the consideration specified by the Secretary of State, and will not deal with competition issues. These fall within the jurisdiction of the European Commission.

NEXT STEPS AND KEY DATES 

•    5 November: publication of the invitation to comment from all stakeholders.

•    19 November: deadline for merging parties' responses to Ofcom's information requests and written representations from all stakeholders.

•    By 31 December: Ofcom submits its report and any other relevant material to the Secretary of State. The full Guidance Note can be found below:

pdfGuidance note for public interest test on the anticipated acquisition of British Sky Broadcasting plc by News Corporation