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BSkyB Confirms Talks with 21st Century Fox over European Pay TV Merger

CANNES — U.K. satcaster BSkyB has confirmed reports that it is looking to acquire 21st Century Fox’s stakes in pay TV operators Sky Deutschland in Germany and Sky Italia in Italy.

The company said in a statement Monday, “BSkyB believes at the right value, this combination would have the potential to create a world-class multinational pay TV group.”

It added that discussions had not progressed beyond a preliminary stage, and there was “no certainty that a transaction will occur.”

With regards to Sky Deutschland, BSkyB would look to acquire 21st Century Fox’s 57% stake in the company. As a consequence BSkyB would be required to make a takeover offer to the minority stockholders of Sky Deutschland, in line with German law.

21st Century Fox owns Sky Italia outright.

BSkyB said all board discussion of the issue is being conducted within a committee composed of the independent directors of BSkyB, in which directors affiliated with 21st Century Fox do not participate.

21st Century Fox said in a separate statement: “Over the years we’ve had numerous internal discussions regarding the organizational and ownership structure of the European Sky-branded satellite platforms. From time to time these conversations have included BSkyB, however, no agreement between the parties has ever been reached.”

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