Ofcom has stepped up an enquiry into whether BSkyB is a "fit and proper" owner of a broadcasting licence, the telecoms regulator said on Thursday.
Investigations began in January, when Ofcom set up a dedicated team to investigate material emerging from the Leveson enquiry and the police’s investigations into phone hacking, according to a freedom of information request made by the Financial Times.
The investigation – known as "Project Apple" – will assess whether BSkyB is fit to hold a broadcasting licence. It will consider the status of both James Murdoch, chairman of BSkyB, and News Corp, which holds a 39 per cent stake in the broadcaster.
If Ofcom rules against them it could trigger a process which would force News Corp to cut its stake in BSkyB to a level where it could no longer exercise control, and could further threaten James Murdoch’s position as chairman of BSkyB.
Last July, Ofcom told politicians that it would continue to investigate BSkyB following the controversy over phone hacking at News Corp.