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Murdoch drops BSkyB bid

Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 02:43

July 13 - Rupert Murdoch withdrew his bid for British broadcaster BSkyB in the face of cross-party hostility in parliament following allegations of widespread criminality at one of his tabloid newspapers. Matt Cowan reports.

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Chastened by a show of cross-party unity opposing his planned takeover of BSkyB, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation has officially withdrawn its 12 billion dollar bid. News Corp already owns 39 percent of the broadcaster, but plans to buy the remaining 61 percent proved untenable amid growing hostility over allegations of widespread criminality at one of Murdoch's UK tabloids. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news. SOUNDBITE: BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, SAYING (English) : "I think this is the right decision. I've been saying this company clearly needs to sort out the problems at News International, at the News of the World. That must be the priority, not takeovers. So the right decision, but also the right decision for the country too. We've now got to get on the police investigation and public inquiry that I've set up today." Last week, in a surprise decision Murdoch decided to close the News of the World tabloid at the root of so many of the allegations. The last issue of the 168-year-old paper was published on Sunday. On Monday, the BSkyB bid was referred to the competition commission - which looked likely to take some of the political heat off in the short-term. However, on Wednesday, all parties were due to endorse a motion urging Murdoch to drop his bid for Sky. Murdoch heeded the advice in advance of the vote being cast. Opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband: SOUNDBITE: Ed Miliband, Opposition Leader saying (English) "It is unusual, to put it mildly, for a motion in this house to succeed before the debate on it succeeds. Make no mistake, this is not the decision News Corp wanted to make. It may have been announced before this debate, but it would not have happened without it." Tom Watson is a member of the UK Parliament who has led campaigning over the hacking scandal. SOUNDBITE: Tom Watson, MP, saying (English) "It feels like the parable of the emperor's clothes. All of the sudden everyone knows that Rupert Murdoch's company was too powerful. We've now got fundemental questions to ask ourselves about what does media ownership in our country look like going forward because at the heart of this was a company that was unaccountable and out of control and we let it happen." REPORTER MATT COWAN SAYING: "The decision by News Corp to drop its bid for BSkyB caps a remarkable period of shifting allegiances and startling about faces. It also marks a dramatic fall from grace for one of the world's most powerful men, Rupert Murdoch - long a feared figure here in Westminster. Following more than a week of disturbing allegations of phone hacking and payments to police, events show that a nation's outrage still speaks louder. Matt Cowan, Reuters.

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Murdoch drops BSkyB bid

Thursday, July 14, 2011 - 02:43