Britain's deputy prime minister Nick Clegg on Monday urged Rupert Murdoch to reconsider his $19-billion bid for broadcaster BSkyB, citing an outpouring of revulsion that followed the phone hacking scandal, which eventually led to the closing down of News of the World. Murdoch owns 39% of BSkyB and wants to buy the rest.
Public outrage made it critical that Murdoch "do the decent and sensible thing" and reconsider his bid to increase his stake in the lucrative broadcaster, said Clegg.
His comments came after the British government asked media regulator Ofcom to reassess Murdoch's takeover bid.
The comments are likely to put further pressure on Murdoch, who arrived in London on Sunday to manage the scandal.
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is responsible for dealing with the proposed bid, said he would seek advice as to whether the scandal raises questions over whether Murdoch's News Corp is "fit and proper" to hold a broadcasting license.
The request to Ofcom, which is already assessing whether News Corps is a "fit and proper" holder of a broadcast licence, follows a report in the Independent that lawyers were drawing up plans to block the bid.
Shares in BSkyB slumped to 693 pence in morning trading from 750 pence at the close on Friday, a drop of 7.6%. It also fell below the 700-pence a share offer from News Corp. The share price later recovered to 712 pence, down 5.0%.
BSkyB, which has a portfolio including live English Premier League football and blockbuster films, is holding out for more than the £7.8 billion ($12.5 billion) offered by News Corp last year.
(With Reuters, AFP & PTI inputs)