News Corp sells Sky NZ stake

News Corp has announced that its News Limited subsidiary will divest its 44 per cent stake in New Zealand pay-TV service SKY Network Television Limited.

News Limited has appointed Deutsche Bank to underwrite and, together with Craigs Investment Partners, to manage, the sales of its SKY shares. It is expected that the shares will be sold to a broad range of institutional and retail investors. Following the sales, News Limited will no longer have any holding in SKY Network Television Limited.

Chase Carey, President and Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation said: “SKY is a world class subscription television business and has been an outstanding investment for News Corporation. We and SKY have always enjoyed an excellent, arms-length working relationship and we expect this to continue unaffected by the sale. In particular, we do not anticipate any change to current arrangements regarding access to content and collaboration on technology.”

The move is in line with News Corp’s plans to separate its television business from its publishing division by the middle of 2013. SKY Network wasn’t regarded as a core asset and the stake’s sale will help free up capital ahead of the split.

The shares are being sold at NZ$4.80 (€3.03) each, valuing the stake at NZ$815 million (€514m), according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the issue is private. Trading was halted in SKY shares, which closed at NZ$5.17 on March 1.

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