Murdoch will get EU green light for full Sky takeover – reports

Sources whisper to Reuters that it's an A-OK from Brussels


Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox will gain EU clearance for its full takeover of Sky, according to sources who whispered to Reuters.

The newswire reported that two people familiar with the matter told it that EU regulators will approve the £18.5bn takeover.

Back in December shareholders agreed the takeover of the British pay-TV and broadcasting firm, at what amounted to £10.75 per share.

Fox already owns 39 per cent of Sky. The Murdoch clan have long wanted full control, though the News of the World phone-hacking scandal in the 00s thwarted those ambitions for years due to the public outrage over the actions of journalists and contracted private investigators. Rupert's son James is chief exec of Fox and chairman of Sky.

Although the corporate structure of Murdoch's British news and entertainment businesses is highly complex, mainly to keep competition regulators off Uncle Rupert's back, all roads eventually lead back to him. His British newspapers are held separately from Sky’s news and entertainment broadcast operations.

Sources told Reuters last year that Fox "pounced" on Sky after June's Brexit vote caused the pound to fall against the dollar, enabling a cheaper buyout by the US company. Before the June 2016 vote the dollar was trading at around $1.40 to the pound. It has remained consistently lower since then, at about $1.24 to the pound.

The EU Commission told Reuters the deal did not raise any competition concerns because Sky and 21st Century Fox are active in different markets within the EU, while rules within EU member states mean rivals would still have access to Sky films and TV channels.

Britain's own regulator, Ofcom, still has yet to decide whether the deal will go ahead, though it is unlikely to contradict EU antitrust regulators. ®

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