A division of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire has been raided in London by the European Commission (EC) on account of violating “EU antitrust rules”.
Documents relating to sports media rights were seized at the London offices of 21st Century Fox in an “unannounced inspection”.
In a statement, the EC said: “The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.”
“Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices.”
“(It) … does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.”
The EC also raided other a number of other EU companies involved in sports rights as part of the move, though it is not clear which businesses these are.
“There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct,” the EC added.
“Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.”
A spokesperson from Fox Networks Group (FNG) said in a statement: “Fox Networks Group is cooperating fully with the EC inspection”.
According to sources close to the raid, commission officials kept a relatively low profile during the raid and staff were reportedly told to keep details of the activity a secret.
The raid follows the recent news Fox is attempting to complete its drawn-out takeover of Sky.