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Britain unlikely to investigate Comcast bid for Sky, says minister

Reuters  |  LONDON 

(Reuters) - Britain said it was unlikely to refer Comcast's bid for for a lengthy investigation after an initial review found that the $30 billion offer did not raise public concerns about

said however that he would give interested parties until 1700 local time on May 24 to respond before giving his final decision on whether the deal should be examined by British as well as European officials.

is at the centre of a bid battle between Comcast, the world's biggest entertainment company, and Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox, which founded the British pay-TV group and already owns 39 percent.

Unlike Comcast, Fox has faced lengthy political and regulatory delays. After agreeing an initial takeover in December 2016, it is still waiting for the government to say whether it should be allowed to buy

Hancock said on Monday that the bid was unlikely to be challenged.

"I am minded not to issue a European Intervention Notice on the basis that the proposed merger does not raise concerns in relation to public interest considerations which would meet the threshold for intervention," he said of the offer.

Comcast's bid for Sky is however being examined in after the company notified the of its intention to buy the group which broadcasts in Britain, Ireland, Germany, and

Next month Fox will find out from the UK whether it is permitted to buy Sky, while will receive a verdict from European authorities, which could potentially end the regulatory uncertainty attached to the deal, and pave the way for a takeover battle on price.

($1 = 0.7448 pounds)

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Sarah Young)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 21 2018. 18:37 IST