BSkyB is lifting its stake in the UK’s biggest indie TV producer from 13%, according to the Sunday Times. It is buying another 7% of Shine from Sony Pictures Entertainment, which is selling its 21% stake in the TV programme maker. Sony is divesting the shareholding because its international TV arm is increasingly in competition with Shine, the UK’s biggest indie. Elizabeth Murdoch, CEO of Shine, is going to be adding to the 60% of the company she already owns, with Shine borrowing money to pay for the rest. Managers of TV companies that Shine has acquired own the balance of shares.
Sony’s 21% stake is expected to be worth $100 million in total, valuing Shine at close to $500 million. Negotiations are ongoing.
BSkyB cannot buy any more of Sony’s shares because that would then see it owning 25% of Shine, forfeiting Shine’s valuable status as an indie producer. By law at least 25% of the BBC’s programmes have to be made by indies.
Neither BSkyB nor Shine would comment. The Sunday Times newspaper is owned by News Corp, which also owns 39% of BSkyB.