Feeds

Hunt refers News Corp/BSkyB bid to Competition Commish

Corpse of NotW fails to stop vast controversy snowball

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

News Corp's planned bid to merge with BSkyB will be referred to the Competition Commission, the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed in the House of Commons this afternoon.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the government had been slow to respond to the public mood following the unfolding phone-tapping scandal that has engulfed News of the World publisher News International, the sister company of Rupert Murdoch-owned News Corp.

He also complained about the absence of the Prime Minister from the Commons' debate.

David Cameron separately told reporters earlier this afternoon that News Corp needed to concentrate on getting its house in order, rather than looking to expand Murdoch's empire.

"If I was running that company right now, and with all of the problems and difficulties and the mess, frankly, that there is, they should be focused on clearing that up, rather than the next corporate move," reports the BBC.

Hunt reiterated that two inquires would get underway, one that would be "judge-led... with witnesses questioned under oath".

The minister said "no stone [would be] be left unturned," and added that the inquiry would also consider why the first police probe into phone-hacking allegations against News International failed.

Hunt described the NotW saga as "irresponsible, callous and illegal behaviour".

In the past hour, News Corp formally withdrew its offer to spin off Sky News as a separate firm, which had formed part of its proposed merger of BSkyB. The Beeb's Robert Peston noted that this means Murdoch's company had kicked its plans into the long grass by effectively delaying the bidding process now that it will be referred to the Competition Commission.

Meanwhile, ex-PM Gordon Brown is set to make a statement in the Commons shortly, in which he is reportedly expected to confirm allegations that his bank account and phone had been repeatedly hacked over the course of a decade by journalists from across News International's titles: Not just by hacks on the now dead News of the World. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.