The on-again, off-again talks between British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (LON:BSY) (OTCMKTS:BSYBY) and 21st Century Fox regarding Fox’s interests in Sky-branded pay television businesses in Germany and Italy are apparently on again. BSkyB announced today, May 12th, that the companies had initiated “preliminary discussions” regarding BSkyB’s acquisition of Fox’s controlling stake in Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia.
If the deal ends up coming to fruition, it will give British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (LON:BSY) control of Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia, in effect allowing to establish a Pan-European satellite provider. It’s really just a matter of growth and who books the profits for Rupert Murdoch, however, as Murdoch’s Fox owns a 39 percent stake in BSkyB. As of year-end 2013, BSkyB boasted 10,5 million subscribers across Britain and Ireland.
Statements from BSkyB And Fox
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (LON:BSY) (OTCMKTS:BSYBY) statement focused on the value and synergies the merged company would create. “BSkyB believes at the right value, this combination would have the potential to create a world-class multinational pay TV group.”
Fox took a more cautious note in its comments on the negotiations. “Over the years we’ve had numerous internal discussions regarding the organizational and ownership structure of the European Sky-branded satellite platforms,” Fox’s statement read. “From time to time these conversations have included BSkyB, however no agreement between the parties has ever been reached.”
Details on the deal
According to Bloomberg News, the Euro Sky deal could be valued as high as 10 billion euros ($14 billion).
According to the most recent company filings, Sky Deutschland has more than 3.7 million subscribers in Germany and Austria, Furthermore, the firm also owns the rights to broadcast Germany’s highly popular top professional soccer league, the Bundesliga, through the 2017 season.
This deal is really about making British Sky Broadcasting Group plc (LON:BSY) more competitive. The trend towards telecommunication companies and cable services in Europe teaming up to provide bundled services to attract customers continues to pick up steam and BSkyB needs to make a deal to keep up with the competition.