Two US hedge funds have banked on the Murdoch family succeeding in taking over the UK-based communications giant, Sky plc.
According to reports in the Sunday Telegraph, the two funds, HBK and Pentwater, each disclosed they have amassed positions worth £310m and £300m respectively.
In December last year, 21st Century Fox announced that it would be attempting to buy the 61 per cent of Sky that it does not already own, valuing the firm at £18.5bn. Major Sky investors, such as JP Morgan Asset Management and the Annuity Association of America, cashed in on a 30 per cent increase in Sky’s share prices that followed the announcement of the bid.
Formerly known as BSkyB, the company changed its name to Sky plc in 2014, after the acquisition of sister companies in Germany and Italy.
Headquartered in Texas, HBK has around $9.7bn in assets under management and runs offices in Tokyo, New York and London. Pentwater Capital Management is based in Chicago and manages a portfolio worth roughly $10.7bn, which includes stakes in LinkedIn and Procter and Gamble.
As well as its pay-to-use TV services, Sky plc also operates broadband and telephone services in the UK and employees around 30,000 people. It is chaired by Rupert Murdoch’s son, James Murdoch.
Abandoned in the midst of the phone hacking scandal five years ago, the Fox takeover of Sky has attracted high profile critics in Parliament, including Ed Miliband and members of the Commons culture and media select committee.
Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, has faced cross-party calls to launch an Ofcom inquiry into the newly proposed deal. Fox is holding private talks with officials in Europe ahead of formal scrutiny by the European Commission begins later this year.