Thursday

19th Apr 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".

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 watchdogs to protect farmers

The European Commission is due to unveil a legislative proposal that will should help farmers get paid on time for their products.

News in Brief

  1. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  2. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  3. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  4. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  5. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  6. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit
  7. Merkel and Macron meet to finetune eurozone reform plans
  8. Turkey snap elections set for 24 June

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  2. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  3. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  4. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  5. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  7. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  8. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  9. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  12. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies

Latest News

  1. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  2. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists
  3. Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study
  4. Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission
  5. Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties
  6. 'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole
  7. EU investment bank confirms secrecy of VW fraud report
  8. More commitment to renewables from Council, please