EU officials inspect 21st Century Fox unit in London

LONDON - European Union investigators raided the London offices of a 21st Century Fox unit amid concerns that some companies have colluded in bidding for the right to broadcast sporting events.

The European Commission, the EU's executive, said in a statement Tuesday that it carried out "unannounced inspections" at offices in several European countries, but it didn't identify the companies involved.

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

The commission stressed that the inquiry into these concerns "does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour."

Fox Networks Group, which includes 21st Century Fox's television, cable and sports media businesses, said in a statement that it is "co-operating fully" with the investigation.

The group's subsidiary in Europe and Africa distributes more than 150 basic television channels and premium sports channels, including Fox Sports, according to 21st Century Fox's annual report. It owns 51 per cent of Eredivisie Media & Marketing CV, which holds media and sponsorship rights for the Netherlands' top soccer league.

Fox's U.S. unit last year broadcast more than 885 living sporting events, including soccer games from the UEFA Champions League and the Bundesliga, Germany's top league.

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