BSkyB is in talks to acquire its European co-brands, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. The company is in discussions with 21st Century Fox to evaluate the potential in acquiring the two Sky broadcasters to create a pan-European pay-tv operator.
A statement on the Sky website said: “BSkyB’s focus in respect of Sky Deutschland would be to acquire 21st Century Fox’s controlling stake…As a consequence BSkyB would be required to make a takeover offer to the public minority of Sky Deutschland in accordance with relevant German legislation. BSkyB would expect, subject to German minimum offer price rules, to make this offer without a premium.”
Fox currently owns all of Sky Italia and 57% of Sky Deutschland. According to Bloomberg, the deal could be worth $14 billlion (10 billion euro) and would put Sky at the head of a pan-European pay-TV operation.
The announcement on Sky’s website noted that discussion of a possible acquisition is “solely within a committee composed of the Independent Directors of BSkyB, in which directors affiliated with 21st Century Fox do not participate.”
“Over the years we’ve had numerous internal discussions regarding the organisational and ownership structure of the European Sky-branded satellite platforms,” said a 21st Century Fox spokesperson. “From time to time these conversations have included BSkyB, however no agreement between the parties has ever been reached.”
21st Century Fox was created last year as a separate company from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. as a means to separate its entertainment assets from its newspaper and publishing business after shareholder pressure in the wake of a series of UK newspaper scandals and arrest of several News Corp execs.