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News Corp 'suggests Sky News sale'

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News Corp has reportedly told the government that it is prepared to make concessions, including the sale of Sky News, to avoid a lengthy review of its bid to acquire Sky.

According to the Financial Times, people familiar with talks between Rupert Murdoch's media empire and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have claimed that the prospect of separating Sky News from the Sky operation has been discussed.

Ofcom is understood to have recommended to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt that News Corp's bid to take full control of Sky should be referred to the Competition Commission due to its potential impact on media plurality in the UK.

A Competition Commission probe would take at least six months to complete, during which time the market price for Sky could increase massively.

To avoid that scenario, it is thought that News Corp executives have suggested a number of measures to offset the media plurality concerns.

Among those is the idea of separating Sky News, but opponents claim that it is unclear who else would be prepared to subsidise the loss-making channel.

Labour MP Kevin Brennan has also told Hunt that he should refer the Sky takeover bid to the Competition Commission just so "justice is seen to be done".

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