Cable issued an intervention notice today following formal notification of a proposal by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp to bid for the 60.9 per cent of BSkyB that it does not already own.
The intervention was made under Section 67 of the Enterprise Act 2002, following submissions and information Cable received regarding the proposals, a press release said.
In September, Journalism.co.uk reported that founder of Enders Analysis Claire Enders and the National Union of Journalists had both called on Cable to issue an intervention notice in the interest of media plurality.
The BBC's business editor Robert Peston had also indicated that such an order was Cable's likely intention.
"The notice requires that Ofcom investigates the public interest consideration of media plurality that arises from News Corp's proposal and submits a report by 31 December," the government press release says.
Due to the size of the acquisition the European Commission will also investigate the proposal on the grounds of competition and will announce its own decision by 8 December.
"On the basis of the information and submissions available to me, I have decided that it is appropriate to issue an intervention notice in this particular case," Vince Cable said in the release.
"The independent experts at Ofcom will now investigate and report to me on the media plurality issues that may arise from this proposed acquisition."
Once Cable has considered Ofcom's report he will announce whether or not to refer the matter to the Competition Commission.
In a statement News Corp said it is "confident that the proposed investment will not adversely affect media plurality in the United Kingdom and looks forward to discussing any substantive issues with the relevant authorities".
Photo by biggovuk on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
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