Media bigwig Rupert Murdoch will not be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, which opens on Wednesday, as he attempts to negotiate the terms to buy British Sky Broadcasting Group with the U.K. Culture Secretary.
The Forum, simply known as Davos, bring together the top executives from all over the world, with reporters and political leaders to discuss several important economic issues.
Murdoch has been negotiating to buy out the 61 percent of BSkyB his company, News Corp, does not already own but has been facing increasing criticism from the media. Critics believe that this would unfairly tilt the media balance in the U.K. towards News Corp.
BSkyB is U.K.'s biggest pay-TV broadcaster, in which Murdoch owns 39 percent already. News Corp already owns four of the top-selling tabloids in the country - News of the World, The Sun as well as The Times and Sunday Times.
Several existing media companies, including owners of The Guardian, Daily Mail and Telegraph have protested against News Corp's complete ownership of BSkyB.
U.K. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said News Corp would be given a chance to offer remedies to avoid a full-blown U.K. Competition Commission review. Hunt said that the merger 'may operate against the public interest in media plurality'.
It is understood that any promises made by News Corp would concern an offering of editorial guarantees on the independence of Sky News, although the former refuses to contemplate a sale of the 24-hour channel, The Guardian reported.
However, critics state that the move by Hunt is unusual and the bid should directly be referred the Commission for review.
But it is guaranteed that the move will further delay the completion of the deal. News Corp first made the bid for BSkyB in June at $12.4 billion.
THE REST OF DAVOS
Wednesday marks the first day at Davos, which includes politicians, businessmen, CEOs, journalists, intellectuals and even some actors.
Ban Ki-Moon, the current Secretary-General of the United Nations, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, French President Nicolas Sarkoz, Former U.S. President Bill Clinton are present at the event.
JP Morgan's chief Jamie Dimon, Tesco's Terry Leahy and several other top executives are also present at the event.
This year's event will be markedly different from 2010, particularly in terms of confidence. Last year, every chief executive was watched closely about their spending, and several were criticized for even attending the gala event that takes place at one of Switzerland's plush resorts.
Other executives, particularly in the finance sector, canceled their attendance last year.
However, most CEOs are more confident about the economy this year.
Confidence is back. Chief executives were nearly as confident of growth coming this year as they have ever been in our survey. They have emerged from the bunker mentality of surviving the recession, PricewaterhouseCoopers International said in a report.