LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May did not discuss with Rupert Murdoch the proposed takeover of UK pay-TV group Sky (SKYB.L) by the tycoon’s Twenty-First Century Fox at a September meeting, Britain’s media minister said on Tuesday.
May had met Murdoch during a meeting in New York, three months before Fox launched its approach for Sky earlier in December.
“She (May) had a pre-arranged meeting with Wall Street Journal editors,” Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley told parliament in reply to a question from a lawmaker.
“Mr Murdoch dropped into that meeting and I can assure him (the questioner) that the proposed takeover was not discussed,” she added.
Murdoch said on Monday he had never asked a British prime minister for anything, seeking to play down his influence ahead of what is likely to be a politically charged approval process for his $14.6 billion bid for Sky.
Bradley will have 10 days to decide whether the takeover triggers public interest concerns once she has received formal notification of the deal, which she said had yet to happen.
“What is important is that, given my quasi-judicial role, I protect the integrity of the process and ensure that as and when, if, a formal notification is given that that is properly considered,” she said.
She also said she had had no prior knowledge that the deal was coming and first read about it in the press.
Reporting by Costas Pitas and Sarah Young; editing by Stephen Addison