News Corp. announced 7/13 it has withdrawn its bid for the remainder of British Sky Broadcasting Group that it does not already own. “We believed that the proposed acquisition of BSkyB by News Corporation would benefit both companies but it has become clear that it is too difficult to progress in this climate. News Corporation remains a committed long-term shareholder in BSkyB. We are proud of the success it has achieved and our contribution to it,” said Chase Carey, News Corp.’s president and COO, in a statement.
The News Corp. official statement read: “News Corporation announces that it no longer intends to make an offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC (“BSkyB”) not already owned by it.”
The bid withdrawl came after the UK government joined in calls for News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch to shelve his goal (at least for now) of buying the rest of BSkyB (it now owns 39%) while the investigation of phone hacking and bribery at his newspapers was ongoing. Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said the government would vote with the opposition Labour Party on 7/13 to support a motion calling on Murdoch and News Corp. to withdraw the $12 billion bid.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “We welcome the news. As the Prime Minister has said, the business should focus on clearing up the mess and getting its own house in order.”
By issuing the statement, News Corp. would be prohibited from bidding for the part of BSkyB it does not already own for at least six months under the rules that govern takeovers.
Labour leader Ed Miliband described the decision as “a victory for people up and down this country who have been appalled by the phone hacking scandal”.