4 Mar 2013

News Corp to sell Sky TV stake

1:38 pm on 4 March 2013

Shares in Sky TV are on trading halt for up to two days as News Corporation sells its 44% stake in the pay television operator.

News Corp subsidiary News Ltd has appointed Deutsche Bank to underwrite and, together with Craigs Investment Partners, to manage the sales of its Sky shares.

News Corp is expected to sell its 169.8 million shares at a 7% discount to Friday's closing price of $5.17. At $4.80 a share the sale would give it more than $815 million dollars.

The company is listed on both the New Zealand and Australian exchanges.

News Corp president Chase Carey said his company does not anticipate any change to current arrangements over access to content and collaboration on technology.

Sky has collaborated with other News Corp owned companies on technology such as FoxTel and the development of set top boxes.

At the end of last year News Corp had total assets of around $US63 billion through its ownership of cable media, film studios, satellite TV and newspapers.

Sky's half year profit rose 7% to $67.4 million due to more people using its higher-value MySky HD boxes while more users subscribed to premium channels like SoHo.

Sky offers about 100 television and radio channels and also operates free-to-air channel Prime Television. Its joint venture service Igloo operated with state-owned Television New Zealand has a mix of free-to-air and pay content.