News Corp wins EU approval for BSkyB bid

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (BestGrowthStock) – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (NWSA.O: ) has won unconditional approval from the European Commission for its bid to acquire pay-TV operator BSkyB (BSY.L: ) but still faces scrutiny by the British communications watchdog.

News Corp, which also owns British newspapers the Sun, the News of the World and the Times and Sunday Times, wants to buy the 61 percent of BSkyB it does not already own for 7.8 billion pounds ($12.19 billion) to consolidate the business it helped build.

“I am confident that this merger will not weaken competition in the United Kingdom. The effects on media plurality are a matter for the UK authorities,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

The Commission did not refer to concessions offered by News Corp earlier this month, indicating it had not accepted them as it did not see any concerns arising from the takeover.

Britain’s communications regulator Ofcom is now examining the deal to see if it would give News Corp too much control of the media in the United Kingdom, with the focus on content types, audiences, media platforms, control of media enterprises and future developments in the media landscape.

News Corp welcomed the news. It did not mention the Ofcom review.

BSkyB’s shares were up 0.5 percent at 737 pence by 1225 GMT (7:25 a.m.), outperforming a 0.3 percent higher Stoxx 600 European media sector index (.SXMP: ).

Independent directors at BSkyB, which operates the 24-hour channel Sky News and provides pay-TV, broadband and telephony, have rejected News Corp’s offer as too low.

($1=.6400 pounds)

(Editing by Greg Mahlich)

News Corp wins EU approval for BSkyB bid