European Commission investigators raided the UK offices Fox Networks Group yesterday as part of an antitrust probe.
The EC said to The Telegraph, which first broke the news, that it is investigating media companies across the EU over a suspected cartel in sports rights distribution and broadcasting.
The Telegraph has reported that investigators will be on site through Wednesday and Thursday.
Investigators have arrived at a time when Fox is attempting to close a deal for a Sky takeover, making the already drawn out process all the more complicated.
The European Commission’s official statement on the case reads as follows:
“The European Commission can confirm that on 10 April 2018 its officials carried out unannounced inspections in several Member States at the premises of companies active in the distribution of media rights and related rights pertaining to various sports events and/or their broadcasting.
“The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
“The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.
“Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.
“The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.
“There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.”