21st Century Fox’s £11bn takeover bid for Sky has been referred to regulators by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley.
Fox already owns 39% of Sky, making it the firm’s largest shareholder and giving it effective control over the business.
In December the US movie and TV giant, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, announced its ambition to buy the remaining shares in the pay-TV business and fold it into its own operations.
A similar bid was eventually dropped in the wake of the phone hacking scandal which led to the closure of The News of the World.
Since then News Corporation has been split into two separate businesses, 21st Century Fox and News Corporation which retains its predecessors newspaper, magazine and publishing assets.
Sky has also undergone corporate changes by taking control of its Italian and German namesakes to become a multi-national broadcaster able to leverage larger audiences for control of major content. In the UK it’s also expanded into low-cost streaming services and is launching a new mobile phone brand.
The business is facing soaring content costs thanks to increased competition from Amazon and Netflix, as well as UK rival BT with which it competes for sports.
Being owned by a major content provider could help lower its overheads while giving it greater access to premium content.
However the proposed takeover is opposed by some media activists and politicians concerned about further concentrating ownership of the UK’s media sector.
On Thursday Bradley told MPs that media regulator Ofcom has been asked to examine whether the bidders pass the UK’s “fit and proper” test while other aspects of the takeover will be examined by competition regulator, the CMA.
Both bodies have been asked to report back by May 16th.