With news of the economy contracting in the previous quarter, it was perhaps a surprise to some that BSkyB has seen growth in its customer numbers to above 10 million: much of this increase due to growth in broadband numbers. In the second half of 2010, BSkyB reported that revenues increased by 15% to £3.2bn and their pre-tax profits were also on the way up to £467m. These latest figures are likely to put increasing pressure on News Corp’s takeover bid for the shares they do not own in BSkyB (61%), as share prices increase by 2%. Last summer, a bid of 700p per share was rejected and while both companies did agree to work together to determine if a future merger was viable, these higher share prices put BSkyB in a much stronger position.
However, before anything else happens, Rupert Murdoch’s company is waiting for regulatory approval from Ofcom for this takeover. BBC reports sugges that Ofcom has made an:
“unambiguous recommendation that News Corp’s plan to acquire all of BSkyB should be referred to the Competition Commission for further investigation.”
The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has spoken of his intention to refer this potential merger to the Competition Commission, following Ofcom’s recommendation. There are concerns about the impact on competition and Rupert Murdochs’ increased influence over public opinion, if this merger were to go ahead. Any delays in finalizing a deal could benefit BSkyB, if their financial performance continues. Analysts suggest that the delay could be 6 months, while any investigation takes place. If profits continue to rise, share prices may also go up, requiring higher and higher bids by News Corp. Watch this space!
BSkyB profits soar 26% to £520m putting pressure on NewsCorp to increase takeover bid Daily Mail (27/1/11)
BSkyB reports big jump in profits BBC News (27/1/11)
BSkyB spends £7m on News Corp bid Guardian, Mark Sweney (27/1/11)
BSkyB result to highlight pressure on News Corp Reuters, Kate Holton (26/1/11)
HD TV, broad demand boosts BSkyB Telegraph (27/1/11)
News Corp bud for Sky should go to Competition Commission, recommends Ofcom Telegraph (27/1/11)
Call off the hunt Financial Times (20/1/11)
Numis raises BSkyB on expected News Corp deal delay Reuters (21/1/11)
- Explain what type of merger it would be between News Corp and BSkyB.
- What are the arguments (a) for the merger and (b) against the merger? Consider the impact on the public, the competitors, the workers etc.
- What is the role of Ofcom and the Competition Commission? How do their responsibilities differ?
- As demand for Sky’s products increases, what could we expect to see in terms of price? Now explain why your answer may not happen!
- Why have BSkyB’s share prices been affected? Is it the demand of supply of shares that has changed? Illustrate your answer on a diagram.