Dramatic developments in Rupert Murdoch’s long-running battle to seize control of Sky have put shareholders in pole position, says Crispin Odey.
The activist investor, who owns a £180 million stake in Sky and is a former son-in-law of Rupert Murdoch, has been critical of the family’s attempts to buy the 61 per cent of Sky they do not already own, claiming they undervalue the company.
A complicated ruling by the Takeover Panel last Thursday means Disney may have to buy Sky for £10.75 a share if other buyers fall away, valuing the pay-TV company at £18.5 billion.
However, Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and US media giant Comcast are also bidding.
Odey, the boss of hedge fund Odey Asset Management, said the development is ‘very good news for shareholders’ because it has brought to light how many firms could be interested in Sky.
US media giant Comcast proposed £12.50 per share in February, but Odey believes the price for Sky could climb as high as £16 per share if a bidding war breaks out between Comcast and Disney.
‘They are two big gorillas and neither likes to lose,’ he said.
Disney is set to buy Fox’s entertainment assets in a separate deal and does not have to make an offer for Sky until the £37 billion deal is complete.
Meanwhile, Fox is under scrutiny from the European Commission as part of an investigation into a sports rights cartel. Investigators raided Fox’s London offices last week, seizing documents and computer records.
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