Permira to take NDS private

In a surprise move News Corp has made a deal to become the minority shareholder in its conditional access subsidiary NDS. Two newcos backed by private equity house Permira will take the business private.

The plan is the Permira newcos will own 51 per cent while News will keep 49 per cent. The deal has been struck at a 21 per cent premium to the companies Nasdaq share price. News Corp had owned 72 per cent, with the balance in float, but the ownership structure made it difficult for News to access the cash NDS generates – it presently has nearly $700 million cash at hand.

The deal has been negotiated with News Corp and NDS management, and will now go before a special independent committee of the NDS board. News Corp.’s take from the deal will be $1.7 billion in cash and debt, the company said.

News Corp. said the deal represents an “attractive alternative” for public shareholders to cash out of an “illiquid investment at an attractive price.”

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