Rupert Murdoch may use proceeds from the sale of his Italian and German pay-TV assets to sweeten his bid for Time Warner Inc., Bloomberg reported Monday.
Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox media flagship is selling its wholly owned Sky Italia unit and its 57 percent stake in Sky Deutschland A.G. to British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSkyB). A deal could be reached in two weeks, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The assets could be worth about 10 billion euros (US$13.5 billion). Fox owns a 39 percent stake in BSkyB.
BSkyB and Fox disclosed their talks in May, weeks before Fox approached New York-based Time Warner about a merger.
Fox is willing to pay more than US$75 billion for Time Warner after its US$85 per-share bid was rejected by Time Warner’s board but no decision has been on whether to increase its offer, the report said.
A sale of the BSkyB stake could help Fox boost the cash portion of its offer for Time Warner, according to Credit Suisse.
A deal would give BSkyB, already the biggest pay-TV provider in Britain, oversight of companies that sell satellite and cable programs to 8.5 million homes across Germany and Italy.
By shedding the continental units, Fox would be left with cable and broadcast networks plus movie and TV studios, making it more attractive to investors who want to bet solely on video production — not distribution, the report said.
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