LONDON (Reuters) – The European Commission on Tuesday raided a offices of a series of companies concerned in sports broadcasting rights, including a section of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox, as partial of an review into a probable cartel.
Sports broadcasting is a outrageous business in Europe, with networks spending billions of pounds to secure disdainful rights to uncover games in top-flight leagues to attract viewers.
The Commission pronounced it had carried out unannounced inspections in several member states during companies that discharge “media rights and associated rights regarding to several sports events and/or their broadcasting”.
Fox Networks Group (FNG), an handling section of Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox that distributes TV and wire channels around a world, pronounced it was auxiliary with a EC review after officials raided a offices in London.
“The Commission has concerns that a companies concerned might have disregarded EU antitrust manners that demarcate cartels and limiting business practices,” it pronounced in a statement.
“Unannounced inspections are a rough step into suspected anticompetitive practices. (It) … does not meant that a companies are guilty of anti-competitive poise nor does it prejudge a outcome of a review itself.”
The Commission did not name any of a companies affected, though Murdoch’s FNG reliable a impasse after it was initial reported by a Telegraph newspaper.
The news of a raid comes during a formidable time for Fox that is intent in fibre of deals that are confronting regulatory approval.
It is battling Comcast and British regulators for a right to buy Europe’s biggest pay-TV association Sky for around $15 billion while it has also concluded to sell a fibre of resources to Walt Disney Co for around $52 billion (36.7 billion pounds).
The Commission pronounced there was no authorised deadline to finish inquiries into anti-competitive control and EC investigations can be lengthy.
Reporting by Kate Holton, modifying by Larry King, G Crosse and Jonathan Oatis