Wednesday, March 17, 1999 Published at 11:48 GMT
Business: The Company File
BSkyB bid for Man Utd 'kicked out'
Manchester United is the richest club in football
BSkyB's takeover bid for Manchester United has reportedly been turned down by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC).
According to the paper, the MMC questioned undertakings that BSkyB's ownership of the Premiership football club would not give it an unfair advantage when negotiating broadcasting rights to matches.
The DTI declined to say what recommendation it had received from the MMC.
"We do not comment on unpublished reports from the MMC," said a spokesman.
"They filed their report to the Secretary of State on the 12th (of March). Mr Byers will publish the report as soon as practicable."
Last month the UK's commercial television regulator, the Independent Television Commission (ITC), expressed reservations about the proposed takeover.
Responding to newspaper reports that it had urged the MMC to block the takeover, the ITC said any such deal would need to be carefully investigated "to ensure that there will be effective competition".
The proposed takeover has produced widespread opposition among fans and small shareholders of Manchester United - the richest club in football - and from other, smaller clubs.
They fear that the deal will lead to a reduction in the revenues received by smaller clubs, and ultimately a European super-league of top clubs that can only be viewed on a pay-per-view basis.
If the Manchester United bid does goes through, it looks set to open the floodgates for the ownership of other football clubs by broadcasters.
Newcastle United has already received a bid from cable operator NTL, while until recently Arsenal was in talks with television broadcaster Carlton.
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