Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox could generate more than $10 billion by selling its Sky Italia and Sky German satellite-TV holdings to BSkyB within the next two weeks — and may use the funds to increase its takeover offer for Time Warner, according to a published report Sunday.
BSkyB, in which Fox owns a 39% stake, is expected to close deals to acquire the Sky-branded satscaters in Italy and Germany over the next two weeks, the U.K.’s Sunday Times reported, citing anonymous sources. The combined entity would have about 20 million subscribers across Europe.
Through the sales, 21st Century Fox would generate more than €8 billion ($10.8 billion), the paper reported. Fox owns 100% of Sky Italia and about 57% of Sky Deutschland. The process has so far faced opposition from Sky Deutschland minority shareholders, according to the Sunday Times report. Bloomberg also reported that the proposed Sky transactions could occur within the next two weeks.
In May, 21st Century Fox confirmed it intended to consolidate its stakes in the three Euro satcasters.
Meanwhile, Fox has lined up $25 billion in loans from Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan for a renewed Time Warner bid, which would represent most of the cash for the deal, the Financial Times reported Friday.
Last week, both Fox and Time Warner confirmed that the companies had held talks over Murdoch’s unsolicited bid. Time Warner said its board rejected Fox’s offer of $85 per share, saying it was too low.
While Fox has said there currently are no discussions between the companies, Murdoch is widely expected to come back with a higher bid for Time Warner. The merger would create the world’s biggest media and entertainment conglomerate with annual revenue of $65 billion.