The U.K. government doesn’t believe that Comcast’s proposed $31 billion acquisition of Sky raises the same regulatory concerns as 21st Century Fox’s attempted takeover of the British pay-TV giant.
“The proposed merger does not raise concerns in relation to public interest considerations which would meet the threshold for intervention,” wrote the U.K.’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock.
In a statement provided to TheWrap, Comcast said: “We welcome the statement from the Secretary of State. We remain focused on progressing our superior offer for Sky.” Sky and Fox did not respond for comment.
This is in stark contrast to 21st Century Fox’s attempt at buying the British broadcaster, which was met with heavy regulatory scrutiny over concerns that Rupert Murdoch’s company have a monopoly on media in the U.K. Last month, Comcast made a bid for Sky that was higher than Fox’s, and this could clear the way for Comcast to upend Fox.
The acquisition of Sky, which Murdoch already owns 39 percent of the company, was seen as a key asset in Fox’s proposed deal with Disney, though a Fox insider recently told TheWrap the $52.4 billion deal was not contingent on Sky being a part of the deal.
Hancock cautioned that no final decision has been made. “I will now allow until 5 pm on Thursday 24 May for interested parties to submit written representations, and I aim to come to a final decision on whether to intervene in the merger shortly.”
Tony Maglio contributed to this report.