Mr Speaker, on Tuesday I set out that I was minded-to refer the proposed merger of 21st Century Fox and Sky on the genuine commitment to broadcasting standards as well as media plurality grounds.
Yesterday I received letters on behalf of both parties to the merger confirming that while they disagree with my minded-to decision, they would not be making substantive representations in relation to it.
As a result, I can confirm my final decision is to refer the merger to the CMA for a Phase 2 investigation on media plurality and genuine commitment to broadcasting standards grounds. I will issue and publish my formal referral decision in the coming days. I will also publish the substantive representations I have received during this process shortly.
From the point of referral, the CMA has 24 weeks - around six months - in which to investigate the merger and provide me with advice. I must then come to a final decision on whether or not the merger can proceed, including any conditions that will apply in order to do so.