Church of England Opposes Murdoch Bid for BSkyB

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Rupert Murdoch may face opposition from a higher power in his bid to take full control of British satellite TV provider BSkyB.

The Church of England said that it opposes News Corp.'s (NWS) plans for BSkyB, saying that such a deal would allow News Corp. to "dominate" the country's media, The New York Times reported.

Ofcom, the British media regulator, is taking comment about the merger. Media outlets including state broadcaster BBC have already said they oppose the deal.

"A News Corporation in full control of BSkyB would combine one of the three significant suppliers of TV news (BBC, ITN and BSkyB), one of the two suppliers of radio news (BBC, BSkyB) and the group with the biggest market share of national press in the UK," said Reverend Nigel McCulloch, bishop of Manchester and spokesman for the church. "It would dominate both the television and newspaper landscape."

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McCulloch cited the possible repercussions for Sky News, saying that a merger could put it under "subtle editorial influence" from News Corp.

In June, News Corp. said it would offer 7.8 billion pounds ($12.4 billion) for the shares of BSkyB it did not already own. BSkyB rejected the offer, but the companies remain in talks.

News Corp. already controls four British newspapers including The Times and The Sun.
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