Tuesday 26 September 2017

Major Sky shareholder to vote against Fox bid

Costas Pitas

A major shareholder in British pay-TV company Sky will vote against Twenty-First Century Fox's $14bn takeover bid, the investor told Reuters on Sunday, while another said it is unhappy about the offer.

Rupert Murdoch's Fox offered £10.75 a share in cash on Friday in its second attempt to buy the 61pc of the business that it does not own, with Sky's independent directors backing the latest bid.

The shareholder, which declined to be named but said it was one of Sky's top 50 stakeholders, described the bid as "far too low".

"We are voting against the deal if it comes out in its current form and we have told the company as such," the investor said.

"The independent directors have absolutely failed minority shareholders."

A Sky spokeswoman declined to comment.

The deal would give Fox control of a pay-TV network spanning 22 million households in Britain, Ireland, Austria, Germany and Italy.

A second shareholder told Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper that Sky's directors should push for more.

It "ought to be the start of the process, not the conclusion", Alastair Gunn, a fund manager at Jupiter Asset Management, was quoted as saying.

A representative of the firm was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters on Sunday.

Analysts at Citi characterised the offer as a "low-ball bid", citing £13.50 per share as a fair valuation.

Sources familiar with the matter have told Reuters that Fox had pounced after Britain's vote to leave the European Union in June sent the pound down about 14pc against the US dollar and Sky's share price tumbling.

Reuters

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