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Fox ‘cooperating’ with EU after bloc raids media offices | World

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The 21st Century Fox logo is displayed on the side of a building in midtown Manhattan in New York, US, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

LONDON: Fox said it was cooperating with the European Union after inspectors conducted an unannounced search of the US media company’s London offices, one of several raids on media outlets by the bloc Tuesday.

The office of Fox Networks Group, which operates 21st Century Fox’s global television network, in the Hammersmith area was raided by European Commission officials over competition concerns.

“Fox Networks Group (FNG) is cooperating fully with the EC inspection,” a FNG spokesman told AFP.

The European Commission said it carried out inspections in several EU countries of companies working in media rights related to sports events and their broadcasting.

“The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices,” the EU’s executive branch said in a statement.

“Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices,” the Commission added, noting raids did not mean companies were guilty of breaking competition rules.

The EU did not detail which firms or countries were involved, or the precise nature of the probe.

Inspectors are believed to have seized documents and computer records at the FNG office and are due to return on Wednesday and possibly Thursday, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported.

Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is currently grappling with the UK’s competition authority over plans to buy the 61 percent of British pay-TV giant Sky that it does not already own.

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulator provisionally ruled earlier this year that Murdoch’s planned takeover was not in the public interest and that a deal would hand him too much power in swaying public opinion.

Fox has responded by proposing the sale of TV channel Sky News to Disney, while also offering to ring-fence the 24-hour news channel instead.

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