Lord Grade backs 21st Century Fox's takeover of Sky

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox already has a 39% stake in Sky - that's considered effective control - but he's moving for full ownership.

The question is will the other Sky shareholders sell? Seventy-five per cent of them have to back the offer.

Some - RLAM, Standard Life and Jupiter - are already grumbling but it's all part of the ritual of negotiation.

The deal may need to be sweetened further but the sense is there is a deal to be done.

Shareholders won't be asked to vote until the takeover has been cleared by the regulators. The highest hurdle is likely to be political.

The Westminster reaction so far has been muted but Rupert Murdoch has a lot of enemies.

Many politicians were appalled by the phone hacking scandal, many also believed that he already has too much control of the news media.

According to Ofcom, 9% of people in Britain get their news from either Sky News (owned by Sky) or The Sun, The Sun on Sunday, The Times and Sunday Times (owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp).

That's a significant number but its fallen in recent years and today a similar number say they get their news from Facebook and Google.

A lot has changed in the five years since the Murdochs' last bid for Sky imploded. Back then the agreement was that Sky News would be spun off as an editorially independent company.

James Murdoch - the Fox chief executive - says he believes the new bid will "pass muster" without any meaningful changes. He may well be right.

Michael Grade, the former chairman of the BBC and executive chairman of ITV, who opposed the 2010 bid, told me he thought the takeover should be allowed to proceed.

"The issue of media concentration is no longer relevant," he said. "I've fought Murdoch on many issues over he years but I can see no earthly reason for not allowing this deal to go ahead."

The culture minister Karen Bradley has until January 3rd to decide whether to refer the takeover to OFCOM. Given the political implications, it would be remarkable if she chose not to.

Lord Grade thinks the takeover should be allowed to proceed. Credit: PA