One might have been forgiven for doing a double take at yesterday’s news that Rupe and his troops were looking to take over BSkyB. Hold on a minute – don’t they own it already? Ah well. The Murdoch clan actually have a “mere” 39% of Sky right now, but would very much like the other 61%. Why so?
Well, over the years Rupe has ploughed some considerable amounts of dosh into Sky – at times, it was thought that the then fledgling broadcaster might finish off Murdoch. But, having seen off much of the competition, or in the case of BSB bought them up, and then got High Definition (HD) TV up and running, Sky can look forward to a period where all that investment pays off.
Which is why Rupe would very much like 100% of Sky: he would then get the same amount of what is expected to be a bumper payout. Unfortunately, Sky’s independent directors, whose duties include getting full value for all shareholders, have said that, while they’re prepared to talk takeover, Rupe has to pay the going rate.
But then, he’s paying in US Dollars, and right now Sterling is relatively weak against the Greenback. So it’s a doubly smart move. Will any regulatory hurdle stand in Rupe’s way? Not, I suspect, in the UK. But the EU just might trip him up, so expect plenty of Europhobic rhetoric from Rupe’s troops in the press for a while.