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The European Commission competition authorities have cleared Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox to buy the 61 percent of broadcaster Sky plc that it did not own, a bid worth £11.7 billion.

Once notified, as is normal in the case of media transactions, the European Commission referred the case to the United Kingdom government, while also conducting its own competition review.

It is due to report back to Ms Bradley by 16 May.

Murdoch had previously attempted the takeover in 2011 but ran into trouble following News Corp's phone hacking scandal and the closing of the tabloid News of the World.

The EC says that Fox and Sky "are mainly active in different markets in the Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK".

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In addition longterm opponents of Rupert Murdoch, Fox's major shareholder, are keen to stop the media mogul increasing his influence and have successfully called on the Government and telecoms regulator Ofcom to review deal.

A spokesperson for Sky said: "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".

The European Commission is scheduled to decide on the deal today. The two companies compete "only to a limited extent" in acquiring television content and providing pay-TV channels. "We now look forward to continuing to work with United Kingdom authorities and are confident that the proposed transaction will be approved following a thorough review process", the company said. "We now look forward to continuing to work with United Kingdom authorities and are confident that the proposed transaction will be approved following a thorough review process", the company says.

Murdoch's son James, who is chief executive of Fox and chairman of Sky, was criticised by Ofcom in 2012 over his handling of the phone hacking scandal but it ultimately ruled that Sky remained a fit and proper owner of a licence.


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