Fox takeover of Sky gets European approval

The £11.7bn deal “raises no competition concerns”, the European Commission has decided.
The European Commission has given its approval for 21st Century Fox to pursue its takeover of Sky plc, the owner of Sky News.
Fox already owns a 39% controlling stake in Sky, but is bidding to buy the remainder of the company.

The commission said the £11.7bn deal “raised no competition concerns”. It said there was no reason to think a deal would see Fox restricting rival companies from accessing its content, nor that Sky would stop buying content from other providers.

It also decided that national regulations, in the UK, Austria and Italy, would protect rival companies from being “shut out” of broadcast platforms.

The Commission’s announcement had been widely expected.

Its specific remit is to analyse the impact of this deal on competition in Europe and consider whether consumers would be faced with higher prices or a worse service. It concluded that neither of those things was likely to happen.

However, the deal still has to be cleared by the UK media regulator OFCOM. Its decision will not be revealed until the middle of May, and today’s European announcement specifically said that it would not prejudice OFCOM’s deliberations.

Fox put forward its deal in December, offering £10.75 per share – an offer that values the company at £11.7bn. That offered shareholders a premium of around 40% above the share price as it stood on 6 December, the last day of trading before the bid was lodged.

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