The European regulator noted that while any such move would bring together Sky with Comcast’s assets such as Universal Pictures and TV channels such as CNBC, Syfy and E!, the two companies only compete to a “limited extent,” mainly in acquiring TV shows and the wholesale supply of basic pay-TV channels.
In February, Comcast made a $31B offer to acquire European satellite pay-TV giant Sky from under the noses of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. The cable giant, which owns NBCUniversal, has made a bid of £12.50, which it says is a 16% premium on Fox’s bid to buy the 61% in Sky that it does not currently own.
“The Commission 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 noted.
It added that it did not believe the deal would mean Comcast would be able to prevent or significantly limit access by Sky’s competitors to its films and other TV content or to its TV channels and that it would not mean Sky would cease purchasing content from Comcast’s competitors.
The European Commission’s move follows its decision in April to clear 21st Century Fox to also acquire Sky. It sets up an intriguing battle between Comcast and Fox over the Sky assets – particularly given Comcast’s recent $65B offer to acquire Fox’s film and television assets including its international holdings.