Source AP ©

BSkyB extends takeover offer for Amstrad

British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC extended its offer for computer and electronic hardware manufacturer Amstrad PLC by two weeks on Wednesday as it revealed it had received acceptances for around 85.9 percent of the company's stock.

The deadline for acceptances to BSkyB's 125 million pound (US$253 million, EUR185 million) cash offer is now Sept. 4.

The government's competition regulator said earlier this month it is investigating whether the deal is anticompetitive. The Office of Fair Trading will consider whether to refer the case to the Competition Commission for a full investigation.

BSkyB and Amstrad already have a close relationship, with Amstrad supplying about 30 percent of the set-top boxes purchased by Sky in the year to June 30.

The set-top boxes are used by viewers with a conventional television to receive digital free-view channels in addition to ones broadcast using the traditional analog signal. This device will allow consumers to keep using older television sets when networks discontinue the analog system and go all digital.

BSkyB's acquisition of Amstrad would give it an in-house design and development capability, allowing it to source some of its products directly from specialist electronics manufacturers.

BSkyB, the dominant pay-TV provider in Britain, is already under scrutiny from the Competition Commission over its 17.9 percent stake in ITV PLC, the largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster.

Media regulator Ofcom is also conducting a more general inquiry into the competitiveness of the industry after complaints from companies including Richard Branson's Virgin Media and Irish broadcaster Setanta, which said that BSkyB sometimes acted anti-competitively.

BSkyB shares were unchanged at 657 pence (US$13.04; EUR9.65) on the London Stock Exchange.

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