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Sports European Commission raids London offices of Murdoch's Fox as part of sports cartel probe

  • Published:

The unannounced raids are part of an as yet unannounced sports rights competition probe.

Rupert Murdoch play

Rupert Murdoch

(Reuters)

  • Fox's London offices were raided by the European Commission on Tuesday, according to reports.
  • The raid is part of a probe into an alleged sports rights "cartel" that has yet to be made public.


LONDON — The European Commission has raided the London offices of Rupert Murdoch's Fox network as part of a competition probe into the market for sports rights.

The Daily Telegraph first reported the raid, which is said to have happened at the company's Hammersmith, West London, offices on Tuesday. Fox Networks did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for information.

The Commission confirmed in a statement that it "carried out unannounced inspections in several Member States at the premises of companies active in the distribution of media rights and related rights pertaining to various sports events and/or their broadcasting" on Tuesday.

The statement continued: "The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices. The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities.

"Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself."

21st Century Fox is currently trying to gain regulatory approval in the UK for a merger with Sky, both of which are owned by billionaire Rupert Murdoch.

The details of the European Commission's probe have yet to be made public. Sky News reports that investigators from the commission removed computers and documents from Fox's London offices on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Fox told the Daily Telegraph: "Fox Networks Group (FNG) is cooperating fully with the EC inspection."