The British offices of the Murdoch entertainment empire 21st Century Fox have been raided by investigators from the European Commission, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.
It is understood that competition watchdogs gained access to the company’s offices in Hammersmith, west London, early today to seize documents and computer records.
The precise nature of the confidential investigation, which is believed to be in its early stages, is unclear. The building is home to Fox Networks, the company’s channels business.
The European Commission has powers to raid businesses suspected of abusing their dominance of a market or being involved in a price fixing cartel. Investigators are able to take copies of documents and computer records, and ask for explanations from executives.
Sources at the 10 Hammersmith Grove development, which is shared with the tobacco company Philip Morris among others, said Commission officials were attempting to keep a low profile and that staff had been warned to keep details of the raid secret. It is understood that investigators are expected to remain on site through Wednesday and possibly into Thursday.
The CMA is considering an offer from the Murdoch family to spin off Sky News into a separate company or sell it to Disney to assuage concerns that full control of Sky will give them too much sway over the British media. The deal has already been approved by the European Commission.