Cable stepped in on public interest grounds over media plurality following mounting pressure from rival media groups after Rupert Murdoch's News Corp made an offer for the 61 per cent of BSkyB that it does not already own. The intervention notice served requires Ofcom to investigate the proposals and report back by 31 December.
News Corp said it was "confident the proposed investment will not adversely affect media plurality" in the UK. It added the group "looks forward to discussing any substantive issues with the relevant authorities".
BSkyB issued a brief statement, saying only that it "notes" Cable's announcement.
Trade unions welcomed the move. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "Vince Cable has done the right thing. This decision was a key test for the new government. This was not just about whether it will stand up to the Murdoch business empire, but whether it will adopt a more robust approach to mergers and acquisitions in general."