- Rupert Murdoch is understood to have succeeded in his £623 million bid for Manchester United.
The Monopolies and Mergers Commission has now passed its report to the Trade and Industry secretary, Stephen Byers, and, according to reports in the Guardian and the Mirror at the weekend, it has decided that there is insufficient evidence to block the BSkyB bid on anti-competitive grounds.
Manchester United said on Friday it had put forward a strong case to the MMC to argue that the deal should be approved.
According to the Guardian, football industry sources have said the deal would go through provided Manchester United directors were locked out of future negotiations over TV rights to Premiership matches. The current deal with BSkyB expires in 2001.
Another key condition, according to the Mirror, is likely to involve an undertaking that United cannot abandon the Premiership for any rival competition -- including a European Super League.
An official announcement clearing the deal is expected to be four to six weeks away.
The bid for Manchester United was launched in September and set off fears that the deal could give Murdoch and BSkyB too much control over English football.