A decision which will allow Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to buy the 61 per cent of BSkyB that it does not already own is due any day now. The UK government is expected to give its approval to a take-over subject to the well-publicised decision to spin-off Sky News into a self-contained stand-alone business. The proposed deal has been bubbling under formally since January.
But now the fun really begins, and while Murdoch is one step closer to his goal, the final moves might yet be many steps away. The problem will now shift away from the corridors of political power into the City, and shareholders who will now determine whether News Corp has to cough up closer to £10 a share, or whether News Corp gets its way and pays closer to £8 a share. Over the past few months BSkyB’s share price has fluctuated around 830-845p, and were at 834p on Friday.
There are plenty of heavyweight names as shareholders, and broker comments remain solid with “strong buy” or “hold” being the advice de jour, which has encouraged plenty of speculators jumping in with both feet. The price gap between buyer and seller is large and whether it can be closed is a very open question.