British minister denies there was back channel to News Corp. over bid for BSkyB

LONDON – UK minister Jeremy Hunt says there was no back channel to media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. over its bid for British Sky Broadcasting PLC.

Hunt’s adviser Adam Smith resigned Wednesday after saying he created a perception that News Corp. had “too close a relationship” with the department for culture, media and sport run by Hunt.

Murdoch’s son James released documents Tuesday which suggested that the minister had secretly smoothed the way for News Corp. to take over BSkyB.

Hunt told lawmakers Wednesday that he followed all the correct procedures when dealing with News Corp. as it was trying to buy the satellite broadcaster.

Hunt said he believed Smith had overstepped the mark in how he dealt with News Corp. but said he believes he did so unintentionally.