Cleary wins European clearance for NewsCorp BSkyB bid

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has successfully secured clearance from the European Commission (EC) for client News Corporation in its bid to buy the remaining shares in BSkyB.

News Corporation already owns a 39 per cent controlling stake in the company but the EC decision paves the way for it acquire sole control of the broadcaster.

The Commission concluded that the transaction would not “significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area”. It added: “The Commission’s findings concern solely the competition aspects of the proposed transaction.

“They are without prejudice to the ongoing investigation by the competent UK authorities of whether the proposed transaction is compatible with the UK interest in media plurality, which is different from the Commission’s competition assessment.”

Commission vice-president and commissioner for competition Joaquin Almunia said: “I am confident that this merger will not weaken competition in the UK. The effects on media plurality are a matter for the UK authorities.”

The Cleary team included partner Francisco Enrique González-Díaz and associates Michele Piergiovanni, Farrell Malone, and Colin Raftery. Hogan Lovells competition partners John Pheasant in London and Catriona Hatton in Brussels are advising News Corp on a separate investigation by Ofcom.