Sky's 21st Century Fox takeover cleared
13 April, 2017
The EU competition authorities cleared last Monday 21st Century Fox bid to buy 61% of broadcaster Sky, but the £18.5bn (€21.6bn) deal could still face regulatory obstacles in the UK, news wires reported. Both Sky and Fox are controlled by businessman Rupert Murdoch, who also owns the Times and the Sun newspapers.
Last month, UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley asked regulators to investigate the deal and told MPs that Ofcom, the media watchdog, and the Competition and Markets Authority, would report to her by 16 May. Part of Ofcom's investigation will include whether Sky's potential new owners are “fit and proper”. Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan Murdoch are both joint chairmen of 21st Century Fox and News Corp, while his other son, James Murdoch, is Fox' CEO.
While the UK mulls possible intervention, the Commission approved the deal unconditionally. “Based on the results of its market investigation, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns,” it said. Fox welcomed the Commission's decision, adding: “We now look forward to continuing to work with UK authorities and are confident that the proposed transaction will be approved following a thorough review process.”
The US company is offering £11.7bn (€13.6) for the stake in Sky it does not already own. Sky shareholders would receive £10.75 (€12.55) cash for each share, valuing the entire company at £18.5bn (€21.6bn). The satellite broadcaster has 22 million customers in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria.