Leveson Inquiry: BSkyB Shares Drop On Takeover Rumour



James Murdoch giving evidence at Leveson Inquiry over BSkyB deal

James Murdoch giving evidence at Leveson Inquiry over BSkyB deal

The price of shares in BSkyB fell by just under 2% as James Murdoch stood in front of the Leveson Inquiry, where he has given evidence into the press standards regarding the planned takeover by of BSkyB by News Corporation.

The shares took a tumble to 664p before the markets shut dropped again by 1.84% to end the day on 666.5p. The mere rumour of the proposed takeover has clearly not lifted the mood of investors, who would rather jump ship then stick around and see what News Corp may have in store for BSkyB.

Links with James Hunt

James Murdoch was being questioned over the tie in with the Culture Secretary James Hunt and News Corp, during the period in time when the BSkyB deal was in the process of being approved. In 2010, Hunt was given the responsibility of deciding what would happen to BSkyB when Vince Cable was removed from his job after informing undercover reporters that he had declared war on Mr Murdoch.

Hunt’s involvement with the media company was exposed  in inquiry through several emails submitted by Rupert Murdoch to the Leveson Inquiry. These were taken from a computer belonging to Fredric Michel who was the head of public affairs at News Corp.

In the messages sent to his bosses, Michel refers to intelligence provided by Hunt’s advisors using ‘Jeremy’ or ‘JH’. What is exposed in the email is simple: Hunt was not against the BSkyB takeover deal. However, this was before he was put into the role of judging whether the takeover deal should be pursued.

It was revealed that Mr Hunt had met with James Murdoch on more than one occasion, where they discussed issues relating to media regulation. The pair conversed by telephone twice at the very least.

Phone-hacking scandal

James Murdoch has defended his lobbying team, saying that Mr Michel was doing the job he was expected to as the public affairs executive. He also stated that the Culture Secretary in no way disclosed any confidential information to the News Corp lobbyists.

A takeover bid for BSkyB by News Corp in July last year fell through when the phone-hacking scandal first took centre stage. Paddy Power, bookmakers, have announced on Twitter that they will be stopping any bets on Jeremy Hunt becoming the next cabinet member to leave his post for the time being.

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