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While many observers get their knickers in a twist about the business and cultural impact of News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) buying the 61 percent of UK satcaster and ISP BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) it doesn’t already own, the reality may be that not much will change.
“While News International currently owns a minority of the shares in BSkyB, it has always been firmly in control of the company and very much the source of its strategic direction, so the real-world implications of a full take over would likely be minimal.
“Meanwhile the real focus of the merger – which would enable News Corp to operate its European satellite ventures as part of one corporate unit – is not the UK. In Germany, News Corp is increasingly involved in trying to make a success of Sky Deutschland, having managed to turn around Sky Italia in Italy.”
Though the prospect of News Corp wrapping together all its assets in to one super-multimedia behemoth is seductive, that is, in fact, what News Corp already is…
Sky and other News Corp properties are already tied up – Fox reporters guest on Sky News, Sky News has provided video for Times Online and Sun Online, Sky1 gets latest The Simpsons episodes from Fox.
More likely than the kind of super-integration envisaged in conspiracy theories is that News Corp, already Sky’s largest shareholder, wants to start taking a larger share of the profits from what, after hitting its 10- million subscriber target, is now one of the most successful subscription media companies in the world.
Screen Digest’s Wescott gives News International 33 percent and 38 percent shares of the UK daily and Sunday newspaper markets respectively.
At the behest of the UK government’s secretary for business, innovation and skills, Ofcom will submit a report on the implications of the takeover for media plurality by December 31. News Corp has also referred its intention to buy Sky to the European Commission’s competition department. Sky shareholders are considering the offer.