EU clears Murdoch's Sky pay-TV deals
The European Commission on Thursday cleared the key deals in tycoon Rupert Murdoch's plan to create a pan-European pay-TV giant.
The Commission, the European Union's executive arm, said it would allow BSkyB, which is 39 percent owned by Murdoch's 21st Century Fox, to buy Fox's total rights to Sky Italia and its 57.4-percent interest in Sky Deutschland.
The new entity would not raise competition concerns as the three original companies were "geographically complementary," it said.
Each operated in "national or along linguistically homogenous areas," it said, meaning there was little probability it would radically change the business in each market.
"It was unlikely that the merged company would be able to impose a change from current licensing practices, which are focused on national territories or language areas, towards the joint purchase or simultaneous negotiations for premium content across several countries," it said.
When the 8.8 billion euro ($11.4 billion) of deals were announced in July, analysts said it would pave the way to a massive European pay-TV operation and give 21st Century Fox another opportunity to bid for US rival Time Warner.
"The enlarged company will be a world-class multinational pay TV provider that serves 20 million customers and brings together the leading pay TV businesses in three of Europe's four biggest markets," London-listed BSkyB said at the time.
© 2014 AFP