Twenty-First Century Fox's Sky acquisition gets European Commission green light

Murdoch executive chairman of News Corporation reacts during a panel discussion at the B20 meeting of company CEOs in Sydney

Twenty-First Century Fox's Sky acquisition gets European Commission green light

The European Commission has cleared 21st Century Fox's takeover of Sky, removing a key regulatory hurdle standing in the way of the deal.

Fox already owns 39% of Sky.

A previous attempt foundered in 2011 amid Britain's phone-hacking scandal, which prompted a political backlash against Fox owner Rupert Murdoch.

Ofcom must also decide whether Sky would continue to be a "fit and proper" holder of a broadcast license following the Fox takeover.

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.

The Commission said the bid did not raise any competition concerns as Murdoch's Twenty First Century Fox and Sky were active in different markets in Europe, while existing rules in European Union countries meant that rivals would still have access to Sky films and TV channels.

An investigation by the European Commission into the proposed deal concluded that it would raise "no competition concerns".

The British government has until May 16 to report its findings on the deal, the Commission said. However, the company back then pulled its takeover offer amid the phone-hacking scandal.

"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". The two companies compete "only to a limited extent" in acquiring television content and providing pay-TV channels.

This time round, James Murdoch, now the chief executive of Fox and chairman of Sky, has said he does not expect to make any "meaningful concessions" to get the deal through.

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