Murdoch's Fox wins European Union approval to take over Sky

Tammy Harvey
April 8, 2017

In a statement, Fox said: "21st Century Fox welcomes today's decision by the European Commission clearing unconditionally its proposed transaction to acquire the outstanding shares of Sky that it does not already own".

The UK media regulator is now assessing whether the takeover will give Murdoch too much control of news media in the UK, and whether he is a "fit and proper" owner of Sky.

As the companies are mainly active in separate markets, there would be little horizontal overlap in the combination of Rupert Murdoch's Fox, a Hollywood film studio and TV channel operator, and Sky, the leading pay-TV operator in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom, the European Commission said.

Competition concerns and broadcasting standards were among the issues of concern for the watchdog to look at, she said last month.

In its statement, the European Commission said it believed the new company would leave room for competitors, noting that Fox and Sky were active in different markets.

"We now look forward to continuing to work with United Kingdom authorities and are confident that the proposed transaction will be approved following a thorough review process".

The decision comes as part of a twin-track process by United Kingdom and European authorities that started with 21st Century Fox referring the deal to Europe last month.

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.

It is also present in Germany, Austria and Italy.

Rupert Murdoch's plan for his company 21st Century Fox to takeover British pay-TV and ISP Sky has been waved through by antitrust officials in Brussels.

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