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European Commission Approves Comcast’s Bid for Sky

The European Commission has unconditionally approved Comcast’s bid for Sky. It has already approved the rival bid for the European pay-TV giant from 21st Century Fox. The Commission said Friday that the “transaction would raise no competition concerns in Europe.”

In a statement, the Commission said it “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.”

It added that it had examined whether a Comcast-owned Sky would throttle access to the Sky platform by channel operators and content owners and concluded that would not be the case. Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal, which runs channels and is a major supplier of film and TV content. The Commission said the deal would not make Sky less likely to buy programming from Comcast and NBCU competitors as that would reduce the quality of its offering.

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

Sky welcomed the news. The committee formed to evaluate the competing bids for Sky noted Comcast has satisfied the pre-conditions of its takeover offer. The committee has withdrawn its backing for the Fox bid, and has yet to make a recommendation to shareholders since Comcast weighed in.

Fox’s Sky bid eased past European regulators before getting bogged down in the U.K. amid stiff opposition. It already owns 39% of Sky, Europe’s largest pay-TV company. In the U.K, regulators have cleared Comcast’s bid, and said Fox’s can proceed as long as it offloads Sky News.

The battle for control of Sky is playing out as Disney and Comcast go head to head for a raft of Fox assets including its stake in the European pay-TV firm.

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