EC approves Sky Europe plan

The European Commission has approved BSkyB’s plans to acquire 21st Century Fox’s majority stake in Sky Deutschland and 100% ownership of Sky Italia, clearing the way for its creation of Europe’s largest pay TV operator.

EC regulators ruled that the deal did not involve any “material overlaps” in the groups’ activities, which are confined to different national markets, and that it would therefore not have an adverse impact on competiton.

With regards to the increase in bargaining power that a combined entity would have vis-a-vis content suppliers, the EC found that it was unlikely that the merger would result in changes to content licensing arrangements that are traditionally based on national boundaries or common language territories.

Sky has also secured unconditional approval for the deal from the Austrian Federal Competition Authority. The acquisition of Sky Italia and the 57% stake in Sky Deutschland remains subject to approval by BSkyB shareholders and by other national regulators.