Rupert Murdoch has been dealt a blow in his bid to take full control of Sky. The deal isn't in the public interest, according to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
If it went ahead, it would hand the Murdoch family too much control over news providers in the UK, according to the CMA. Hence it's not in the public interest on grounds of media plurality.
However, the CMA said it wouldn't be against the public interest on the grounds of broadcasting standards.
The deal would see the Murdoch-owned Fox take over the 61 per cent of Sky that Murdoch doesn't already own. Were that to happen, the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT) would exert too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda, because of how many news outlets it would own.
Murdoch last tried to take over Sky seven years ago, but that bid was derailed by the phone hacking scandal at Murdoch-owned UK newspapers.
The MFT's news outlets currently have the third-biggest reach in the UK, behind the BBC and ITV.
Fox said it was "disappointed" by the findings, but it would "continue to engage with the CMA ahead of the publication of its final report in May.
"We welcome the CMA's provisional finding that the company has a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards and that the transaction would not be against the public interest in this respect," it added.
Disney is currently trying to take over Fox in a separate deal, currently subject to US approval. If both deals go through, Disney could end up owning Sky.