In the latest of its conflicts with the European Union, Fox Networks, the TV, and cable unit of the 21st Century Fox (FOXA), had its London offices raided by EU regulators as part of investigations into sports media rights distributions. The media company is not alone as inspections took place at several companies involved in sports broadcasting in many EU countries.
The European Union has been investigating pay-TV rights for a while, besides looking at contracts that prohibit the international broadcasting of movies and TV shows. The recent raids were conducted based on doubts that some firms were involved in bidding conspiracies related to sports events broadcasting rights thereby violating antitrust rules.
The officials stated that the ongoing investigations were not a stamp of the companies’ guilt.
If you recall, Fox has been struggling to get approval in the UK for its purchase of Sky plc. Despite the EU approving the deal, the UK authorities have been stalling the approval process as they are not very thrilled about giving the Rupert Murdoch-owned company too much control over the British media.
Fox is also trying to fight off Comcast (CMCSA) who made a bigger bid for Sky recently.
Despite the EU approving the deal, the UK authorities have been stalling the approval process as they are not very thrilled about giving the Rupert Murdoch-owned company too much control over the British media.
Fox volunteered to either sell Sky News or spin it off independently to ease regulatory concerns. Disney (DIS), which already has a proposed a deal to acquire Fox’s entertainment assets, offered to purchase Sky News too to help facilitate all the transactions for all the parties involved.
A decision is expected soon in the UK regulatory review of the Sky deal.