21st Century Fox’s £11.7 billion acquisition of Sky has edged a little closer to being a done deal today, as the European Commission approved the merger. The commission was assessing any potential competition concerns that might arise from the marriage of huge media company and pay-TV provider. It concluded that as the two firms “are mainly active at different levels of the market,” the acquisition wouldn’t have any significant impact on competition. It wouldn’t be good business for Fox to withhold its films from Sky’s competitors, for example, or for Sky to worsen its platform by carrying Fox’s content exclusively — not to mention regulations and existing contracts in countries where Sky operates prevent that kind of thing from happening anyway.
21st Century Fox already owns 39 percent of Sky, but media tycoon Rupert Murdoch wants the whole pie after having to abandon a similar takeover attempt in 2010 when News Corporation (now known as 21st Century Fox) became entangled in a highly publicised phone hacking scandal. The buck doesn’t stop with the European Commission, though, which only looked at how the merger would affect competition in Europe. UK regulator Ofcom is currently conducting a review of its own, and could block the purchase if it feels that the two companies together would have too much influence over the news, negatively impacting media plurality.
About 21st Century Fox Inc.
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. is an American multinational mass media corporation based in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It was one of two companies formed from the 2013 spin-off of the publishing assets of News Corporation, as founded by Rupert Murdoch in 1979. 21st Century Fox is the legal successor to News Corporation dealing primarily in the film and television industries and is currently the world’s fourth largest media conglomerate. The other company, the “new” News Corporation, holds Murdoch’s print interests.
The company’s assets include the Fox Entertainment Group—owners of the 20th Century Fox film studio and Fox television network, and among other assets, pan-Asian pay channel operator STAR TV; and on December 9, 2016, 21st Century announced a bid for full control of United Kingdom-based Sky Plc, whose independent directors supported the deal.
Illustration screen capture : SKY.COM Website