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EU approves Fox takeover of Sky under Merger Regulation

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EU approves Fox takeover of Sky under Merger Regulation

Sky

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Commission has given its unconditional approval under the EU Merger Regulation of the proposed acquisition of Sky by U.S. media giant Twenty-First Century Fox.

The Commission concluded that the transaction - which would combine Sky plc (Sky), the leading pay-TV operator in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK and Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc (Fox), one of the six major Hollywood film studios (20th Century Fox), as well as a TV channel operator (Fox, National Geographic) - would raise no competition concerns in Europe.

Fox and Sky are mainly active in different markets in the Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK. They compete with each other only to a limited extent, mainly in the acquisition of TV content and in the wholesale supply of basic pay-TV channels.

The Commission found that the proposed transaction would lead to only a limited increase in Sky's existing share of the markets for the acquisition of TV content as well as in the market for the wholesale supply of TV channels in the relevant Member States.

Given that the merging companies are mainly active at different levels of the market, the Commission's assessment focused on whether, as a result of the proposed transaction:

  • Fox would be able to prevent or significantly limit access by Sky's competitors to its films and other TV content, as well as to its TV channels. The Commission concluded that these possible concerns were not founded. This is because the parties' audience shares remain limited and pay-TV distributors would continue to have access to content from Fox's competitors and alternative channels with comparable programming and audiences in the relevant Member States.
  • Sky would have the incentive to cease purchasing content from Fox's competitors. The Commission found that this was unlikely as it would reduce the quality of Sky's product offering.
  • Sky could prevent competing channels from accessing its platform. The investigation found that the merged companies' ability to shut out Fox's rivals was significantly mitigated by existing regulations in the UK, Germany and Austria. In addition, competitors that could have been targeted for exclusion are either contractually protected for a sufficient period of time or are not dependent on Sky's retail platform in the relevant Member States.

Based on the results of its market investigation, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns.

The Commission makes clear that its clearance decision is without prejudice to the UK's ongoing media plurality review of the proposed transaction.

 

More information will be available on the competition website, in the Commission's public case register under the case number M.8354.

 

EU Merger Regulation


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