EU regulators to approve Fox takeover of Sky

A British Sky Broadcasting Group logo is seen at the company's UK headquarters in west London

A British Sky Broadcasting Group logo is seen at the company's UK headquarters in west London

In 2011, Rupert Murdoch abandoned a bid to take full control of Sky in the wake of that year's phone-hacking scandal involving journalists at Mr Murdoch's United Kingdom newspapers. The two companies compete "only to a limited extent" in acquiring television content and providing pay-TV channels.

"Based on the results of its market investigation, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns", it said in a statement.

Murdoch's son James, who is chief executive of Fox and chairman of Sky, was criticised by Ofcom in 2012 over his handling of the phone hacking scandal but it ultimately ruled that Sky remained a fit and proper owner of a licence. Telco rivals expressed concerns that the company would dominate the bidding for televised entertainment and sport properties.

While the United Kingdom mulls possible action, the European Commission approved the deal "unconditionally".

Fox said in December it had reached an agreement to buy the 61-per cent stake in Sky it did not already own in a deal worth £11.7 billion.

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"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".

UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has said she is "minded" to order an Ofcom investigation.

Fox claims that in the years since the abandoned bid, the media landscape has changed beyond recognition. The Competition and Markets Authority, meanwhile, is reviewing judicial issues.

The deal may face a tougher test from United Kingdom media regulator Ofcom, which will decide whether the takeover breaches British rules on media plurality and broadcasting standards.

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