British pension funds weigh in on Fox-Sky deal

British pension funds are stating that a respectable premium be paid for Sky by Fox. If Fox were to prolong negotiations such that the acquisition takes place after Theresa May’s government invokes article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty in March 2017, its cash offering for the buyout of the 61% in Sky could be significantly less.

Public sector pension funds in Britain have rallied to call that an “appropriate” premium be paid by Twenty-First Century Fox in its potential acquisition of Sky.

They have also called for safeguards for protecting minority shareholders.

According to four source familiar with the matter at hand, Rupert Murdoch owned Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., aims to place a firm bid for Sky by providing a $13.66 (10.75 pounds) for each of its shares.

It already 39% of the company and plans on acquiring the remaining 61%, as per the sources.

“All directors of Sky have a duty not to disadvantage the public shareholders, and the position of the non-executives will need to be robust to ensure that the premium paid is appropriate and that shareholders are not disadvantaged by any temporary low in the share price,” said Kieran Quinn, chairman of Britain’s Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF).

The LAPFF represents 71 public sector pension funds which have assets worth $222.29 billion (175 billion pounds) under its management.

The LAPFF said it wanted to see unspecified “safeguards for future probity given past track records of the businesses controlled by the Murdoch family.”

It went on to add, “Further clarity may also be needed so that public shareholders have full confidence that proposals are not being unduly influenced by the well-known relationships between Sky and Twenty-First Century Fox”.

Quinn added, “The role of (British communications industry regulator) OFCOM would be helpful in bringing its expert scrutiny on a deal that will have a broader impact on the future of the broadcasting and print media marketplace in the UK”.


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