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Fox’s BSkyB Gets Greenlight from European Union to Create Pay TV Giant

LONDON — U.K. satcaster BSkyB has cleared the first of the hurdles as it seeks to create a pan-European pay TV giant.

On Thursday, the company said it had received unconditional clearance from the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, and the Austrian Federal Competition Authority for its acquisition of Sky Italia and at least 57% of Sky Deutschland.

Further hurdles remain: completion of the transaction remains conditional upon, amongst other things, approval of the independent shareholders of BSkyB, and the receipt of relevant outstanding regulatory approvals, BSkyB said.

BSkyB announced the deal in July to take control of its German and Italian sister companies. 21st Century Fox owns a 39% stake in BSkyB, 100% of Sky Italia and 57% of Sky Deutschland. The proposed deal will see BSkyB acquire Fox’s stakes in Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland. It also will bid for the remaining Sky Deutschland shares.

The merged entity, which some observers are calling Sky Europe, will have 20 million pay TV subscribers in the U.K., Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria. Potentially, Sky Europe will be able to reach up to 97 million households.

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