Thursday, October 14
BroadcastingKelvin MacKenzie, former editor of The Sun, has today criticised the "business duds" calling for business secretary Vince Cable to block News Corporation's takeover of Sky.
Writing in his regular column in the newspaper, MacKenzie accused rival newspapers of trying to "derail" Murdoch's media business.
"All the papers - yes, even, disgracefully, pro-business ones such as The Mail and The Telegraph - are ganging up to stop him paying £7 a share for the 60% of Sky he doesn't own," said MacKenzie.
"Even the BBC, a pay-TV operator itself (the difference being you're jailed if you don't keep up the payments) and BT have protested to the business secretary that his takeover would damage 'media plurality'. The words BT and plurality have never been used in the same sentence before.
"The fact that Sky is so successful is due to his three-word mantra: invest, invest, invest. When you look at the list of business duds opposing him, what's quite clear is they have chosen to survive by three other words: Cut, cut, cut."
Earlier in the week, the owners of The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Mirror signed a petition submitted to Cable urging him to intervene in Murdoch's £8 billion bid to take full control of pay-TV operator Sky.
The firms are concerned that the integration of Sky's television platform with the News International titles, including The Times and The Sun, could have "serious and far-reaching consequences for media plurality". The letter was also signed by Channel 4 chief executive David Abraham, BT chief executive Ian Livingstone and BBC director general Mark Thompson.
MacKenzie said that its "hard to know why Vince Cable wouldn't nod the deal through" as News Corp already owns nearly 40% of the equity in Sky.
"The reality is that Sky owns very few of the channels it broadcasts and many of the stations have minute audiences - especially compared to the state monopolists at the BBC," he said.
"The issue for our nation should not be how to stop Mr Murdoch investing in Britain but how to encourage him - and many more like him."
MacKenzie's comments follow an editorial in The Times criticising Thompson for signing the letter to Cable. The article claimed that the BBC director general was "seeking to gain commercial advantages in league with News Corp's rivals".
On Tuesday, the government confirmed that Cable had received the letter, but it was "premature" to speculate on his response to the proposed takeover of Sky.
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