BSkyB has completed its acquisition of Sky Italia S.r.l and takeover offer for Sky Deutschland AG and announced its intention to change its name to Sky, in place of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) in recognition of the international scope of the business.
The Company has acquired 89.71 per cent of the share capital of Sky Deutschland, with 87.45 per cent acquired through the offer process and the balance acquired subsequent to the close of the offer acceptance period on 3 November 2014.
The acquisition of Sky Italia was for a total consideration of £2.45 billion, satisfied by approximately £2.07 billion in cash and the balance through the transfer to 21st Century Fox of BSkyB’s 21 per cent stake in National Geographic Channel International.
The acquisition of 87.45 per cent of Sky Deutschland through the offer process was for a total consideration of €5.50 billion (representing €6.75 per share), with a further 2.26 per cent being acquired at an average price of €6.20 per share, amounting to €5.63 billion in aggregate.
Completion follows unconditional clearances from the EU and national media authorities; strong independent shareholder support for the transaction with 96 per cent voting in favour; and the successful issuance of £5.8 billion in debt and equity transaction financing on attractive terms.
The enlarged group will serve 20 million customers across five countries: Italy, Germany, Austria, the UK and Ireland. It will also be one of the largest employers in the sector with 31,000 staff across 30 main sites.
With a combined programme spend of £4.6 billion, Sky says it is Europe’s leading investor in television content and at the forefront of delivering services over broadcast, online and mobile platforms so that customers can enjoy great TV whenever and wherever they choose.
By bringing together the three businesses, Sky will share strengths and expertise from across the group to serve customers better, accelerate innovation and grow faster. The new Sky will be built on a shared ethos of always pushing forward to provide customers with more choice, better content and a superior TV experience.
The potential for future growth is significant. Over 60 million households have yet to take pay-TV across the five markets in which Sky operates and there is also substantial opportunity to launch new services and bring additional products to more customers.
In order to recognise the international scope of the business, following the acquisition the company will change its name to Sky, in place of British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB). The company will be listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol SKY.
As Group Chief Executive, Jeremy Darroch will oversee the enlarged group as well as continuing to lead the UK and Ireland business while Andrew Griffith will be Group Chief Financial Officer. Andrea Zappia will continue to lead the business in Italy as Chief Executive of Sky Italia and Brian Sullivan remains Chief Executive of Sky Deutschland AG.
Darroch said the three Sky businesses would be “even better” together. “We have the opportunity to create a business that can lead and shape our industry in the future. Customers will benefit as we launch exciting new services, bring them even more great TV and accelerate innovation across all of the markets in which we operate. By joining together, we will share our strengths and expertise while retaining a strong identity in each country where we operate. The opportunity ahead is substantial and we believe the new Sky will be good for customers, content creators and shareholders alike.”
The change of the company’s name from British Sky Broadcasting Group plc to Sky plc is subject to shareholder approval at its AGM on 21 November 2014. The company’s stock exchange ticker will change to SKY from 14 November 2014.
Both Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, the credit rating agencies, have indicated that BSkyB is expected to maintain its investment grade ratings, with Moody’s announcing recently that it has revised BSkyB’s rating to Baa2.