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EU regulators approve Fox plans to buy Sky

08 April 2017

Murdoch first tried to gain full control of Sky in 2011 but was forced to abandon the attempt as controversy raged over the hacking of the telephones of celebrities and crime victims by his tabloid the News of the World, which was subsequently shut down.

The commission said the two companies were active "in different markets" in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the United Kingdom - the five European Union countries where pay-TV broadcaster Sky operates.

"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", it said.

The European Commission said it saw no competition problems with Fox's bid to buy the rest of Sky that it doesn't already own, according to an emailed statement on Friday.

The EU unconditionally cleared a News Corp. takeover of Sky in 2010, which was later abandoned in an outcry over revelations of News Corp. phone hacking. Telco rivals expressed concerns that the company would dominate the bidding for televised entertainment and sport properties.

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

Bradley has given Ofcom a 40-day timetable to investigate, and expects to receive its report by May 16.

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is offering £11.7bn for the 61% stake in Sky it does not already own. Murdoch will get his prize. The Competition and Markets Authority, meanwhile, is reviewing judicial issues.

Fox has pledged to keep Fox News at arm's length and continue to broadcast news under the Sky brand, to avoid what critics say could be a "foxification" of Sky News, and to "maintain its excellent record of compliance with the Ofcom broadcasting code".

EU regulators approve Fox plans to buy Sky