News Corp: “We don’t have to do [Sky] deal”

In the opening skirmish of the ‘spin wars’ that will characterise negotiations, Chase Carey, Rupert Murdoch’s right-hand man at News Corp, told delegates at Deutsche Bank’s Media & Telecoms conference that while News Corp wanted to do the deal to buy the remaining 61 per cent in BSkyB that it did not already own, but “We don’t have to do [it].”

Referring to BSkyB’s ever-rising price, Carey said: “It’s troubling out there; some seem to have forgotten this stock was trading in the fives not too long ago. ” He added the veiled threat that if News Corp couldn’t get the sort of deal it wanted it would pursue other options. Tuesday’s opening BSkyB price was 832p.

Carey, COO at News Corp, has led negotiations on the $11.5 billion acquisition. He has repeatedly called the 700p price already on the table full and fair. James Murdoch, non-exec chairman of BSkyB, has absented himself from discussions because of his similar role as head of News Corp’s European and Asian operations.

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