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Rupert Murdoch has expressed confidence that UK regulators will approve the £11.7bn offer from his 21st Century Fox group for the shares it does not own in Sky, the European pay television company.

“We remain confident the proposed transaction will be approved by the end of the calendar year following a thorough review process,” the Fox executive chairman said in a statement with his son, Lachlan, that accompanied Fox’s third quarter results.

Ofcom, the UK communications watchdog, has been taking submissions from opponents of the deal, including lawyers representing people suing Fox News Channel for racial and sexual harassment.

The scandal, which has claimed the scalps of Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman, and its star presenter, Bill O’Reilly, did not dent Fox’s earnings, with Fox News recording higher ratings although these were offset by lower revenues at Fox’s National Geographic Partners businesses.

Third-quarter revenues were $7.56bn, up from $7.23bn last time, reflecting the broadcast of the Super Bowl by Fox’s broadcast network.

Operating income before depreciation and amortisation rose from $1.88bn to $1.94bn, reflecting bigger contributions from its cable networks.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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