James Murdoch called Cable on Sky bid day
Monday, October 18 2010, 10:50 BST
By Andrew Laughlin,

Business secretary Vince Cable received a "short introductory phone call" from News Corp executive James Murdoch on June 15, the day the firm lodged a bid for Sky.

Last Friday, the government confirmed that Cable received the call from Murdoch, son of media tycoon Rupert and non-executive chairman of the pay-TV broadcaster.

Cable is expected to decide within weeks whether to intervene in News Corp's multi-billion pound move to acquire the 61% of Sky that it does not already own.

The minister's call with Murdoch was revealed in a written answer to a parliamentary question tabled by Labour MP Michael Dugher, reports The Guardian.

Replying to the question, business minister Ed Davey wrote: "[Vince Cable] had a short introductory phone call with James Murdoch of News Corporation on June 15, 2010."

It has not been disclosed what was said during the conversation, but sources close to News Corp indicate that the call was just a courtesy on the day of the bid.

An alliance of newspaper publishers and rival broadcasters has come together to sign a letter calling on Cable to block the Sky deal due to fears about an erosion of media plurality.

Last week, the government confirmed that Cable had received the letter, but warned that it was "premature" to judge his response at this stage.