The Rupert Murdoch-controlled media group 21st Century Fox has formally notified the European Commission of its £11.7bn bid to seize full control of Sky, triggering the start of regulatory scrutiny of the deal.
The UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley will now have 10 working days to decide whether to refer the £10.75 a share offer, which values the European pay TV broadcaster at £18.5bn, to British media watchdog Ofcom.
The competition authorities in Brussels will now have 30 days to make a preliminary decision on the deal.
In a statement, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport Karen Bradley said:
I am ‘minded to’ issue a European Intervention Notice on the basis that I have concerns that there may be public interest considerations – as set out in the Enterprise Act 2002 – that are relevant to this proposed merger that warrant further investigation.
To be clear – I have not taken a final decision on intervention at this stage.