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Fox Gets Bad News on Sky Deal From U.K. Regulator

Yes, Fox News' sexual harassment scandals were an issue.

The decision by the U.K. government to continue to study Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.'s (FOXA) bid to own all of European satellite TV and internet provider Sky plc puts the spotlight back on the sexual and discrimination scandals that have rocked the Fox News Channel for the past 12 months.

For Rupert Murdoch and his sons, who control the global media and entertainment company, the decision by British culture minister Karen Bradley to refer the transaction to antitrust authorities is hardly encouraging news. Fox was hoping to get approval on Thursday, June 29, for its proposed $15.2 billion acquisition of the 61% of Sky Fox doesn't already own.

The Murdochs, who were thwarted three years ago in their attempt to buy Time Warner Inc. (TWX) , are eager to control Sky, thereby vertically integrating their European business from content creation through distribution.

But the Office of Communications, the regulator known as Ofcom, said company executives exhibited "significant corporate failures" tied to the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits that led to the dismissal in July 2016 of Fox News co-founder Roger Ailes and the departure of its biggest on-air personality, Bill O'Reilly, in April. Lawyers for current and former Fox News employees had pressed U.K. regulators to reject the Sky deal.

The culture minister...