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Ofcom increases pressure on Murdochs over BSkyBMarch 09 2012, 10:25am
UK broadcasting and communications watchdog Ofcom is has reportedly stepped up its investigation into News Corp’s (NASDAQ:NWSA) holding in British Sky Broadcasting Group (LON:BSY).
The Telegraph has learned that Ofcom has set up a dedicated team to look at whether material flowing from the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking could mean BSkyB is judged not a "fit and proper person" to hold a broadcasting licence.
According to the report, the work is focusing on James Murdoch's role as BSkyB chairman and News Corp as a 39 per cent owner of the broadcaster.
If Ofcom finds against BSkyB, News Corp could be forced to sell down some of its holding or James Murdoch could be forced to step down as BSkyB chairman.
James Murdoch stepped down as News International chairman last month, but remains chairman of BSkyB. His position at the broadcaster is already under pressure following his controversial appearance in front of MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
If the MPs were to challenge his testimony at the hearing when it publishes its findings in a few weeks time Murdoch could lose his job at BSkyB. Equally news of increased pressure from Ofcom is likely to destabilise his position at the broadcaster, the report said.
Last year News Corp had to drop its takeover of BSkyB after the phone hacking scandal blew up.