The UK government today has announced it is not ”minded” to release a European Intervention Notice (EIN) against Comcast in its £22 billion proposed bid to buy Sky.
In an announcement released today by the Secretary for Media and Culture Matt Hancock, he stated that he would not ask Europe to intervene as; ‘’the proposed merger does not raise concerns in relation to public interest considerations which would meet the threshold for intervention.’’
The announcement will be welcomed by the US pay-tv company Comcast as they aim to complete their sizeable bid to buy Sky.
However, it will surely be seen as a blow to 21st Century Fox’s ambitions to purchase Sky, as they remain behind red tape, as they encounter media and government scrutiny on the grounds of media plurality and concerns over broadcast standards.
Critics of Comcast have called for it to also face the same scrutiny, pointing to its bad customer service record, voted Consumerist Worst company twice in recent years and citing its $2.3 million settlement to resolve a Federal investigation into allegations of wrongfully over charging customers.
Hancock has also pointed out that; ‘’This is a quasi-judicial decision and I am required to make my decision independently, following a process that is scrupulously fair and impartial, and as promptly as quickly as possible.’’
The Secretary for Media has state that he will allow until 5pm on the 24th of May for; ‘’interested parties to submit written representations, and I aim to come to a final decision on whether to intervene in the merger shortly.’’
If in 10 days’ time the Secretary for Media has not referred the case to Ofcom, he must clear the bid.