BSkyB has entered into “preliminary discussions” to acquire two pay satellite television companies from 21st Century Fox.
The acknowledgement, which came in a statement published on BSkyB’s website Monday, followed a weekend report by Bloomberg News that suggested Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox had sought to offload its ownership of Germany’s Sky Deutschland and Italy’s Sky Italia as the company refocused its attention on broadcast and cable networks.
Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, which split from his media conglomerate News Corporation last year, owns a 55 percent stake in Sky Deutschland and has complete control over Sky Italia.
BSkyB, in which Fox holds a 39 percent ownership, operates the Sky television service and an internet service called “Now TV’ in the United Kingdom. The company also broadcasts several Sky-branded TV channels, including Sky News and Sky Sports.
The deal, which unidentified sources told Bloomberg was valued at over $14 billion, would give BSkyB larger ground in the pan-European satellite television market. BSkyB said in its statement on Monday that “no agreement has been reached on terms, value or transaction structure and there is no certainty that a transaction will occur.”
But the company seemed optimistic about a possible acquisition of its German and Italian cousin services. “BSkyB believes at the right value, this combination would have the potential to create a world-class multinational pay TV group,” the company said in its press release on Monday.
If the deal goes through, Fox would still own at least one pay satellite company in Asia.