News Corp ups ante on BSkyB

Steve Dinneen
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NEWS Corp chief operating officer Chase Carey upped the ante yesterday in negotiations to buy BSkyB, claiming his company has already offered a “fair price” of 700p.

The BSkyB board has previously hinted it will recommend a bid of over 800p a share but the broadcaster has continued to strengthen its position since then, hitting its target of 10m subscribers and increasing its first-half profits by 40 per cent year-on-year.

Carey said News Corp is still focused on getting the proposed transaction through regulatory clearance and said his company had already valued BSkyB fairly.

But BSkyB investors including Fidelity, which owns three per cent, and hedge fund boss Frank Brosens, who owns 1.18 per cent, are hoping to push the price as high as 950p a share. BSkyB shares closed yesterday at 828.50p, up from 763p just a month earlier.

Talks between the two sides were broken off while regulatory clearance was sought, with culture secretary Jeremy Hunt finally giving the green light earlier this month.