Fox Gets EC Nod for Sky Purchase

But British scrutiny of the deal remains
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21st Century Fox said it has received unconditional approval from the European Commission for its plan to purchase the remaining interest in Sky Broadcasting it doesn’t already own, bringing the media conglomerate a step closer to full control of the U.K.’s largest satellite TV company.

In a terse statement Friday after the market close, Fox said it had received EC approval for the deal, valued at about $14.5 billion. Fox already owns a 39% interest in Sky and proposes to take in the remaining stake.

“21st Century Fox welcomes today’s decision by the European Commission clearing unconditionally its proposed transaction to acquire the outstanding shares of Sky that it does not already own,” Fox said in a statement. “We now look forward to continuing to work with UK authorities and are confident that the proposed transaction will be approved following a thorough review process.

This is the second time Fox has tried to consolidate Sky Its last effort was blocked by U.K. regulators in 2011 as the company was in the thick of a scandal surrounded cell phone hacking by reporters at its British newspapers.

The U.K.’s chief regulator Ofcom will next look into the deal, based on whether the consolidation is in the public interest. Some Briitsh politicians fear the deal would give Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch, who already owns two major newspapers papers in the U.K., too much influence.

Some pundits have wondered if Fox’s popularity with U.S. President Donald Trump could affect the Sky deal, and some British politicians have expressed concern over the potential "Foxification" of Sky. Trump has accused British intelligence of helping former U.S. President Barack Obama's administration to conduct surveillance of Trump and his campaign before the November elections. Trump had cited a Fox correspondent’s reports as evidence of the claims, which the British government has vehemently denied.

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