Fox’s Murdoch fears Brexit immigration crackdown

20 March 2017 1:23pm

2 March 2017. By Matthew Holehouse.

Twenty-First Century Fox chief James Murdoch said the prospect of tighter immigration controls to the UK is his main concern about Brexit.

The television industry needs a "real diversity of voices," Murdoch said at a conference* in London today, adding that he was "fretting" about the consequences for his business of a more restrictive migration regime in the UK.

The British government has said it will gradually stop the free movement of people to the UK, but that it wants to attract talent.

"What we don't want to see is [the government] making it harder to have people come and . . . work," Murdoch said.

"That is the one piece of it that I probably fret about the most, this thing about how can we move people around, how can we attract people from all over the world to come to a place," he said. "That's because it's uncertain, we don't know, I don't know how this process goes over the next two years."

Murdoch was previously the chairman of News International, now News UK, his family's UK newspaper business.

Its titles include The Sun, the UK's best-selling newspaper, which campaigned strongly for Brexit and has long called for a tighter migration regime.

He is also the chairman of UK satellite broadcaster Sky, which has Twenty-First Century Fox as its biggest shareholder.

Murdoch said he didn't see other significant risks in Brexit for Sky, which also operates in Germany and Italy. "It doesn't change that much," he said.

He also set out the case for Twenty-First Century Fox's bid to take full control of Sky, which faces scrutiny over whether it threatens media plurality. Online platforms created an era of "ultimate plurality" where users can access "all the things that have ever been made," he said.

*"Deloitte Enders Media and Telecoms 2017 & Beyond conference," London, March 2, 2017.

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