Belfast Telegraph

Investors questioning value of deal as 21st Century Fox tables bid to buy Sky

By Staff Reporter

Sky’s independent directors are facing pressure from shareholders to push for a higher price from Rupert Murdoch and not sell the broadcaster on the cheap.

21st Century Fox, which is owned by the media mogul, tabled a proposed cash offer of £10.75 per share on Friday, valuing Sky at £18.5bn.

However, investors have questioned the value of the deal and raised concerns about the involvement of Mr Murdoch’s son James, who is Sky’s chairman and Fox’s chief executive.

Thomas Moore, investment director at Standard Life Investments, told the BBC that the role of James Murdoch in the two companies means “this can’t be an arms-length deal”.

“There’s heavy representation of people aligned with Rupert Murdoch, not just James Murdoch,” he said.

“Shareholders — our clients ultimately — are reliant on this independent board to come up with a solution which will represent proper value.

“There are concerns, given the composition of the board, that cannot be the case.

“We would hope this is a starting bid and on reflection they will appreciate that a higher bid is more appropriate,” Mr Moore added.

On Friday, the two firms said talks would continue and there was no certainty that a deal would be struck.

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