Nomura, the Japanese bank, has substantially raised its target price for Sky shares from 700p a share to £10. If it happens, Rupert Murdoch will have to dig deep into his pockets to buy the remaining 60% of BSkyB he doesn’t own. Murdoch would have to find another £3 billion on top of the £12 billion he’s already offered.
Matthew Walker, an analyst at Nomura, said: “For too long we think BSkyB has been regarded as the perennial ‘jam tomorrow’ story, a best-in-class business that keeps investing to keep ahead of the competition and where promised cash flow is constantly deferred.
“We would argue that the recent News Corp proposal is a strong signal that at last the company is about to harvest cash flow.”
I doubt Walker will be getting a Christmas card from Murdoch this year for tipping BSkyB investors to hold out.
But Steve Liecthi, an analyst at Investec, says that at no time since inception has BSkyB ever delivered on profits people expected a few years previously. The Murdochs keep ploughing cash back into the company, investing in high-definition or 3D. “Technology leaps that are required tend to hold back profit delivery,” Liechti tells me.
And Paul Richards, media equity research director at Numis, says the chances of News Corp raising its bid to £10 for a business it already controls is slim. It’s not as if there are going to be any counter-bidders, he says.