News Corp. notifies EU of BSkyB takeover plans

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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. notified its takeover plans for British pay-TV giant BSkyB to European Commission competition regulators Wednesday.

The commission said it conduct an initial review of the 7.8-billion-pound (8.9 billion euros, 12.5 billion dollars) bid for the Sky News broadcaster that notably screens English Premiership football by December.

At that point, it could clear the takeover if it finds that the offer for the 61 percent of BSkyB not yet owned by News Corp. would not lead to undue concentration of media ownership.

It also has the option to impose conditions, or launch a more detailed investigation.

BSkyB rejected the informal cash offer in June as too low.

Murdoch's son James is both a senior executive at News Corp. and chairman of BSkyB.

News Corp.'s takeover is politically sensitive, with Murdoch already controlling some of the English market's most powerful newspapers in the tabloid Sun and the Sunday Times.

British Business Secretary Vince Cable could himself ultimately intervene on public interest grounds over a deal that has left rival commentators complaining that Murdoch will have too much control over mass distribution media channels.

© 2010 AFP

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