Sky Deutschland’s Second Biggest Shareholder Rejects BSkyB’s Offer

Rupert Murdoch's former son-in-law, hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, says, 'No, thanks'

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LONDON — Hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, who is the former son-in-law of Rupert Murdoch, has turned down an offer from U.K. pay TV operator BSkyB to buy his shares in Germany’s Sky Deutschland, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

Odey’s hedge fund Odey Asset Management is Sky Deutschland’s second biggest shareholder, after Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, with a stake of around 8%.

Last week, BSkyB, which is controlled by 21st Century Fox, announced a deal to buy Fox’s 57% stake in Sky Deutschland, and its 100% shareholding in Sky Italia.

BSkyB intends to pay £2.9 billion ($4.92 billion) for Fox’s stake in Sky Deutschland, and offer the same share price for the remaining publicly traded shares, valuing them at €6.75 ($9.09) a share.

However, Odey Asset Management told the stock market Tuesday that it “does not intend to tender its shares in this proposed offer.” Odey believes the proposal, effectively a nil premium takeover offer, understates the company’s true value.

Odey told the Telegraph that while Sky Deutschland was already an expensive stock, it was “undervalued on a three-year basis” as there was significant growth in the German TV market.

No minimum acceptance has been set by BSkyB in its offer to Sky Deutschland’s minority shareholders, and it said it could realize “the advantages of closer collaboration with Sky Deutschland and support its continued growth and development with the 57.4% stake it is acquiring through this transaction.”

However, BSkyB will be unable to access the German company’s cash flow without full ownership, and this might be an increasingly appealing option if Sky Deutschland maintains its rate of growth, according to the Telegraph.

Odey used to be married to Murdoch’s daughter Prudence, and still has an amicable relationship with the media mogul. Odey told the Telegraph that Murdoch was aware of his views and they “knew each other well.”