European commission says £11.7bn bid raises no competition issues, despite fears over Murdoch’s power in UK news media.
Rupert Murdoch’s £11.7bn bid to take full control of Sky has been cleared by the European competition regulator.
The European commission, which has been investigating 21st Century Fox’s takeover bid since early March, has given the deal “unconditional approval”.
“Based on the results of its market investigation, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns,” it 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.”
Rivals have lodged submissions with the regulator, raising concerns that the combined broadcasters would dominate bidding for top-flight sport, TV shows and movies.
The ruling – which was expected given the commission also cleared Murdoch’s ill-fated 2010 bid – does not affect the investigation being conducted by Ofcom in the UK.
The UK media regulator is currently 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.
The deal would give the Murdoch family control of Sky News through 21st Century Fox (which already owns the Fox News service), and the Sun, Times and Sunday Times newspapers and the TalkSport radio station through News Corporation, a separate company.
Ofcom is due to report back to Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, with the outcome of its investigation by 16 May.