Rupert Murdoch's Sky takeover bid cleared by EU regulators
The European Commission approved “unconditionally” the takeover of the satellite broadcaster by Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, the US movie and television giant.
Fox’s 1075p-a-share offer to buy the 61 per cent of Sky it does not already own, announced last December, still needs the blessing of UK authorities. Sky shares rose 7p to 969p.
A green light from the Commission had been expected as it had raised no objection to Murdoch’s previous bid to buy Sky, which fell apart in 2011 when his UK newspaper operation was engulfed in a phone-hacking scandal.
The Commission said: “Fox and Sky are mainly active in different markets in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK.
“They compete with each other only to a limited extent, mainly in the acquisition of TV content and in the wholesale supply of basic pay-TV channels.
“The Commission found that the proposed transaction would lead to only a limited increase in Sky’s existing share of the markets for the acquisition of TV content as well as in the market for the wholesale supply of TV channels in the relevant member states.”
Fox said it welcomes the Commission’s verdict and “looks forward to continuing to work with UK authorities and is confident that the proposed transaction will be approved following a thorough review process”.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley referred the deal to Ofcom last month after Fox’s representations failed to allay her concerns over media plurality and commitment to broadcasting standards.
Murdoch owns The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and The Sun on Sunday newspapers through a separate company.
His son James is chief executive of Fox as well as chairman of Sky.
The UK’s media regulator, which is also looking into whether Murdoch’s company is a “fit and proper” holder of a broadcasting licence, has until May 16 to deliver its report.
If it raises no concerns, Bradley will have to clear the bid.
Otherwise, she must decide whether to accept undertakings from Fox to address them.
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