Murdoch cancels Davos trip as BSkyB bid teeters

LONDON Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:57am EST

News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng arrive at the 68th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 16, 2011. Murdoch has opted to travel to London instead of Davos as News Corp's $12.5 billion bid for British satellite broadcaster BSkyB hangs in the balance, two sources familiar with his plans said. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

News Corp Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng arrive at the 68th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 16, 2011. Murdoch has opted to travel to London instead of Davos as News Corp's $12.5 billion bid for British satellite broadcaster BSkyB hangs in the balance, two sources familiar with his plans said.

Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok

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LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch has opted to travel to London instead of Davos as News Corp's $12.5 billion bid for British satellite broadcaster BSkyB hangs in the balance, two sources familiar with his plans said.

Britain has given News Corp a final chance to allay concerns that a merger would give too much influence over Britain's news media to News Corp and its Chief Executive Murdoch. Otherwise, it faces a prolonged regulatory investigation.

One source said on Wednesday that Murdoch's son James, who heads News Corp's operations in Europe and Asia, had also canceled his trip to the World Economic Forum, as had News International CEO Rebekah Brooks and General Manager Will Lewis.

UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is expected to make up his mind in the next weeks whether to refer the matter for a further six-month probe, is considering a concession from News Corp that likely relates to 24-hour news channel Sky News.

News Corp also owns about one-third of Britain's newspaper market through its UK newspaper arm News International with mass-selling tabloids The Sun and The News of the World, and the Times of London.

Hunt's willingness to consult with News Corp in private has renewed concerns about his Conservative party's links to Murdoch, whose newspapers supported the Conservatives during national elections last year.

The opposition Labour party questioned Hunt's independence and rival newspaper groups have said they were consulting lawyers.

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, editing by Mike Peacock)

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