Published: Sat, April 08, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

European Union regulators to approve Fox takeover of Sky

European Union regulators to approve Fox takeover of Sky

Analysts had not expected the European Union to block the takeover after it approved Murdoch's previous attempt to take full control of Sky in 2011, a deal that was later derailed by a phone hacking scandal at his British newspapers that revealed close ties between politicians, police and media.

The commission said: "Fox and Sky are mainly active in different markets in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK". The two companies compete "only to a limited extent" in acquiring television content and providing pay-TV channels.

The European Commission has cleared 21st Century Fox's acquisition of Sky, concluding that the move raised no anti-trust concerns. However, the company back then pulled its takeover offer amid the phone-hacking scandal.

21st Century Fox's proposed £11bn takeover of Sky "would raise no competition concerns" according to European Commission competition authorities.

21st Century Fox noted that It now looks forward to continuing to work with United Kingdom authorities and is confident that the proposed transaction will be approved following a thorough review process.

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More widely the UK's entertainment market has also changed drastically since the earlier bid, thanks to increased competition from Amazon and Netflix, as well as United Kingdom rival BT with which it competes for sports and which is making its own forays into premium drama.

It will report back to the United Kingdom government by May 16, leaving a final decision on whether to block the deal with Culture Minister Karen Bradley.

Fox claims that in the years since the abandoned bid, the media landscape has changed beyond recognition.

Today's announcement is an important step and gives an indication of what will be laid out in a broader final report the EC will issue and handed to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The Commission, which polices the EU's anti-trust cases, said its finding was based exclusively on an assessment of the market impact of the deal, not on the issue of plurality in media ownership which is the focus of the British probe.

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