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Rupert Murdoch' awaits backing from EC for Sky buy-out

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is expected to be told this week that regulators in Brussels have no objections to its £7.8bn bid to buy BSkyB, according to press reports.

Sources close to the deal said that the European Commission (EC), which set itself a deadline of December 22 to report on the impact of the proposed deal, have not found any significant competition problems.

But the deal will still come under the scrutiny of industry regulator Ofcom, which will decide by December 31 whether to refer the bid to the Competition Commission.

News Corporation, which owns The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun and the News of the World in the UK, wants to buy the 61% stake of BSkyB it doesn't already own.

The EC's investigation, which focused purely on anti-trust issues, scrutinised the advertising market in particular on the back of concerns that a single owner of Sky Deutsche, Sky Italia and Sky in the UK would be too dominant.

The source said that although the EC could not see any major problems, it had not made a final decision and could still be changed.

Business secretary Vince Cable ordered Ofcom to carry out a media plurality test on the deal following an outcry from media groups, including the BBC and Channel 4.

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