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OFT clears Sky's £160m acquisition of VMtv

The competition watchdog published its decision without divulging the reasons for doing so.

The Office of Fair Trading has cleared BSkyB's £160m acquisition of Virgin Media Television (VMtv) and has decided not to refer the case to the Competition Commission.

The competition watchdog published its decision without divulging the reasons for doing so. It is expected to publish an explanation shortly.

Sky had paid £105m to Virgin Media after getting regulatory approval from the Republic of Ireland in July, and pledged to pay the remaining £55m after getting a nod from UK regulators.

The British satellite broadcasting company had in fact rebranded VMtv - which included the channels Bravo, Bravo 2, Challenge, Challenge Jackpot, Living, LivingIt and Virgin 1 - as Living TV Group without waiting for the regulator's decision.

The company had also rebranded the Virgin channel as Channel One on 3 September.

It is understood that the News Corp-backed Sky sees the acquisition as an opportunity to strengthen its position in the UK cable-satellite TV market. Following the acquisition, the broadcaster is saving on the carriage fee it previously paid to Virgin to air VMtv channels.