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UK clears way for 21st Century Fox to buy Sky

AFP  |  London 

Britain today cleared the way for Rupert Murdoch's to take full control of pan-European TV giant after Fox agreed to address concerns.

Despite the clearance, satellite pay-TV group could still end up being bought by or amid a US

"It is now a matter for the shareholders to decide whether to accept 21CF's bid," Britain's said in a statement.

Fox's long-running pursuit for all of Sky had been plagued by fears over and broadcasting standards -- and the influence of Australian-born US citizen Murdoch.

Critics say that allowing Murdoch -- who owns major British newspaper titles and -- full control of would give him too much influence in business.

To remedy this, Fox has proposed to sell the rolling TV channel to should it win full control of Sky.

The UK government's statement meanwhile comes one day after both and raised their bids for Sky, escalating a takeover battle as reposition themselves for the streaming era.

lifted its offer to 26 billion pounds (USD 34.3 billion, 29.5 billion euros) only hours after Fox boosted its offer for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not own. Fox's latest bid values Sky at 24.5 billion pounds.

The battle for Sky comes as Comcast is also embroiled in a takeover battle with for assets that are being split off from Murdoch's empire.

Some analysts have said Comcast could drop its bid for the Fox assets should it win Sky. such as Disney and Comcast have been looking to beef up their creative offerings to compete with and other that are eroding the value of conventional cable television assets.

Sky's jewel in the crown is its live coverage of football, while the group also provides internet and

Shares in Sky were up 2.7 per cent at 15.35 pounds in deals today, above both Comcast's latest offer of 14.75 pounds per share and Fox's improved bid at 14 pounds.

"The stock market continues to believe that the winner of the Sky takeover battle will pay more than has currently been offered," noted Russ Mould, investment director at AJ

"Takeover battles don't go on forever and at some point one of the competing parties will have to admit defeat," he added.

Sky changed its name from after agreeing in 2014 to buy and a majority holding in

In 2011, Murdoch was forced to abandon a takeover bid for -- as controversy raged over the hacking of celebrities and crime victims by his tabloid the News of the World, which was subsequently shut down.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 12 2018. 20:00 IST