Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Robert Peston Article: Who is more powerful – Murdoch or Parliament

The question posed in the headline of the above article has been overtaken by events. News Corp has withdrawn its bid for the shares in BSKYB, which it does not already own. However, some of the matters he discussed about multinational companies remain relevant.

Some extracts from the Robert Peston article:

If ever there were a symbol of the uneasy balance of power between national governments and large multinationals companies, it is the spectacle of the British Parliament being poised to vote overwhelmingly (it seems) for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to abandon its bid for British Sky Broadcasting – but being powerless to force him to abandon that takeover.

What we are seeing here is a clash between politicians who (perhaps belatedly) are recognising that the laws they enact can’t always tether a business of News Corporation’s size and power and a company that – like many multinational companies – is obsessed with the letter of the law and has a history of ruthlessly exploiting the letter of the law for commercial advantage.

Ed Miliband and David Cameron may well be right that a vote with non-binding force of the sort that will take place later today does not change the takeover landscape as radically as would a vote that actually forced Mr Murdoch to drop his deal.

But it does create a precedent for greater political intervention in deals – while simultaneously demonstrating the limits of parliamentary power when it comes to big multinationals.

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.