EU competition authorities clear 21st Century Fox takeover of broadcaster Sky plc
The European Commission competition authorities have cleared Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to buy the 61 percent of broadcaster Sky plc that it did not own, a bid worth £11.7 billion. Sky is the owner of Sky News, the international news company based in the UK, that is also available to US audiences through Apple TV, Roku and other devices.
Murdoch had previously attempted the takeover in 2011 but ran into trouble following News Corp’s phone hacking scandal and the closing of the tabloid News of the World. With the reelection of a Tory government in the UK, and Donald Trump in the US, European authorities appear in no mood to fight the media titan. (The EU would likely have approved the previous deal, too, but it ran into trouble in the UK where Murdoch’s tabloids rule, but where press regulation hearings were being held due to the scandal. Both Rupert Murdoch and his son James were forced to appear before a commission, and the then CEO of News International Rebekah Brooks was forced to resign. Like the Sky bid, Brooks soon returned, and remains CEO of Murdoch’s UK division – proving that no scandal lasts forever, and money and power trumps morality every time.)
The clearance doesn’t end the issue as the British regulator Ofcom could decide to begin an investigation, but no one really think that is likely. Murdoch will get his prize.