Sky investor Crispin Odey would be "quite happy" if Fox's takeover bid fails following delays

Courtney Goldsmith
Follow Courtney
2005 Television Critics Winter Press Tour
Fox's takeover bid for Sky has been faced with numerous delays (Source: Getty)

Regulatory delays have caused Sky shareholder and hedge fund manager Crispin Odey to reconsider his support of the £11.7bn takeover bid by 21st Century Fox.

Odey, who holds a one per cent stake in Sky as its 15th biggest investor, told Reuters the £10.75-per-share offer for the 61 per cent of the company Fox does not already own undervalues the British broadcaster.

The deal has been under close scrutiny by culture secretary Karen Bradley, who has previously said she was minded to formally refer the deal for a full Competition and Markets Authority probe.

The latest delay was announced yesterday by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which asked Ofcom, the media regulator, for extra advice on the deal.

"The truth is, the longer this goes on the more that I would be quite happy if it failed," Odey told Reuters.

He added Fox was "getting it at what now looks like quite a cheap price", and that the offer was "now starting to look rather mean".

Odey, who initially supported the deal, said his view was changing because he thought Sky's prospects were improving.

Sky's stock closed down 0.83 per cent today at 953.5p, which was its lowest price since news of the deal surfaced in December.

Read more: Culture secretary keeps Murdochs and Fox waiting on Sky takeover decision

Profits rise at Fox

Fox's fourth quarter profit rose above analysts' estimates today, but revenue missed estimates.

​Net income attributable to Fox shareholders dropped to $476m (£366m), or 26 cents per share, from $567m, or 30 cents per share.

Excluding items, the company earned 36 cents per share compared with analysts' expectations of 35 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Fox's total revenue increased 1.5 per cent to $6.75bn, just missing analyst forecasts of $6.77bn. Revenue for Fox's cable division, home to Fox News and FX channels, rose 10.4 per cent and accounted for more than half of total revenue.

Executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said the company's 2017 achievements have set it up well for this year and beyond.

The investment we have made in our video brands, and in programming that truly differentiates, is proving to be the right strategy.

It is driving the value of our brand portfolio across both established and emerging distribution platforms and reflects our deep commitment to creative excellence across all of our entertainment production businesses.

In addition, the outstanding performance of our live news and sports programming drove advertising growth for the year and continues to set our business apart.

Related articles