Monday

15th Oct 2018

EU raids Murdoch firm in sport 'cartel' probe

  • EU competition probe is looking into companies active in the distribution of media rights when it comes to sporting events (Photo: bildungsr0man)

European Commission officials on Tuesday (10 April) raided offices of sports media rights companies as part of an anti-trust investigation.

In a statement, the Brussels-executive said the companies may have violated rules that "prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The probes took place in several EU states.

When asked which member states, a European commission spokesperson told this website "sorry, we don't give out that information".

One of raided offices was the London branch of 21st Century Fox, a media giant owned by Rupert Murdoch.

A Fox Networks Group spokesperson was cited in British media as saying they are fully cooperating with the Commission.

The Commission inspectors were accompanied by their national counterparts and are said to have seized documents and computer records from the London office, according to The Telegraph, a British newspaper, which broke the story.

The Commission says the unannounced inspections, which were carried out in several EU states, are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices.

The annual sale of exclusive broadcast rights for football league games in Europe is worth billions.

The moves come amid broader fears that the Murdoch media empire may be seizing too much public influence following an earlier probe by the UK competition and markets authority.

The issue revolved around Murdoch's attempt last year to take over Sky News, for some €12.9b, which would then allow Disney to buy out 21st Century Fox. US giant Comcast had also offered to buy Sky earlier this year.

UK culture secretary Karen Bradley at the time said any such takeover may "increase members of the Murdoch Family Trust's ability to influence the overall news agenda and their ability to influence the political process".

The same bid, however, had been approved by the EU, posing broader questions on the unannounced inspection on Tuesday.

The Commission says there is no legal deadline to complete the inquiries. It is unclear how long each case will take.

EU takes step to end TV 'geo-blocking'

The EU has opened a public review of its two decades old Satellite and Cable Directive, a process which could ultimately lead to media companies being prevented from blocking access to pay-TV services and movies in specific countries.

EU warns Italian populists on Greek-type crisis

The EU commission president urged Rome to rethink its budget plans to avoid a Greek-style euro crisis. Meanwhile, Italy's finance minister tried to calm his colleagues in Luxembourg.

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen warms towards cooperation with Bannon
  2. Bettel set to stay in power in Luxembourg after election
  3. EU-UK Brexit deal talks paused
  4. Macedonian parliament to vote on name change Monday
  5. Swedish opposition leader gives up on forming government
  6. Commission confirms: no record of Juncker speech seminar
  7. Ukraine splits from Russian orthodox church
  8. Polish doctor wins landmark pro-life case in Norway

Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU

The justice commissioner says the accommodation-rental website will better inform users about prices, and about the legal status of their 'hosts'. Facebook, however, could face sanctions if it doesn't comply with EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it
  2. Bavarian election puts Merkel on defensive
  3. It's time for the EU to stand up to transnational corporations
  4. Tug of war between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' cohesion money
  5. 'Macron vs Orban' is no quick fix for EU democracy
  6. Brexit and sanctions at EU summit This WEEK
  7. EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants
  8. EU urged to seize assets of foreign hackers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us