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FT urges Cable to investigate News Corp's BSkyB takeover

Pearson-owned FT said the takeover could prompt Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to "dominate the media sc

The Financial Times has urged business secretary Vince Cable to investigate News Corporation's proposed takeover of BSkyB in the interest of the public, the Guardian reports.

In its leader column, the Pearson-owned FT said the takeover could prompt Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to "dominate the media scene, lock out challengers and stifle the diversity of debate".

The column argued that the News of the World phone-hacking affair raises "broader questions about Murdoch's powerful grip on the UK media industry".

The paper appealed to Cable to examine the deal under British rules governing media diversity, warning that "News [Corporation] and BSkyB would be a truly formidable beast."

Citing the growing dominance of News Corp's UK media assets, the paper said that Sky - which currently accounts for 35 per cent of UK's TV market - will shortly garner at least 50 per cent. It expressed fears that with access to such a big resource, Murdoch could kick off an unprecedented price war thereby driving away other broadcasters from the market.

According to MediaWeek, nearly 30,000 people have signed a petition asking Cable to investigate the News Corp-BSkyB deal fully. Another 18,000 people have also signed an open letter - posted on the website of campaign group 38 Degrees - to stop Murdoch "increasing his stranglehold on a free and independent media in the UK".