UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB is considering its first acquisition since its acquisition of a 22-per cent stake in the German channel KirchPayTV, leading to a $1.98 billion write-off in 2001.
The UK business journal the Financial Times, said in a report that BSkyB is now considering a €2.5 million ($3.9 million / Rs16.93 crore) bid to acquire Spanish pay-TV platform Digital+, from its owner Grupo Prisa, Spain's largest media conglomerate.
Groupo Prisa is expected to sell the company to repay debts from its highly priced share buyback in Spanish TV company Sogecable.
News Corp, which owns 39.1 per cent of BSkyB, is said to have been interested in acquiring Digital+, while simultaneously pursuing German pay-TV group Premiere. This may have stretched its resources to acquire Digital+ as well.
Not that BSkyB has sound finances to pursue the acquisition; as on 31 March it had a net debt of £1.9 billion and generated £614 million in cash from operations in the first nine months of the year.
Rupert Murdoch's son James Murdoch is the chairman of BSkyB and chief executive of News Corp Europe and Asia, and is said to be acquiring broadcasting assets such as BSkyB and Sky Italia.
The FT report said that the talks were still in early stages.
Vivendi, Telefónica, ONO and Orange, France Telecom's mobile arm are expected to mount a stiff challenge as potential rival bidders.