BSkyB Confirms Its Interest In Sky Deutschland & Sky Italia Stakes
Britain’s BSkyB on Monday acknowledged speculation over its potential acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s interests in European pay-TV groups Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. Reports of talks had emerged over the weekend, and BSkyB today confirmed it had “initiated preliminary discussions with 21st Century Fox to evaluate the potential acquisition of its pay-TV assets in German and Italy. BSkyB believes at the right value, this combination would have the potential to create a world-class multinational pay-TV group.” Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox owns 39.1% of BSkyB, 57% of Sky Deutschland and 100% of Sky Italia. BSkyB shares were down 2.42% today, according to The Wall Street Journal, while shares in Sky Deutschland were up some 9.9%. There has lately been a trend toward consolidation across the European TV landscape, notably involving Murdoch frenemy John Malone. A combination of Murdoch’s businesses would have about 20M subscribers. Any deal surely would face serious regulatory scrutiny, but BSkyB was careful to say the talks had “not progressed beyond a preliminary stage.” There has been no agreement on “terms, value or transaction structure and there is no certainty that a transaction will occur.” It added that “all Board discussion of this topic is solely within a committee composed of the Independent Directors of BSkyB, in which Directors affiliated with 21st Century Fox do not participate.” For its part, 21st Century Fox said Monday, “Over the years we’ve had numerous internal discussions regarding the organizational and ownership structure of the European Sky-branded satellite platforms. From time to time these conversations have included BSkyB, however no agreement between the parties has ever been reached.”
Mark Slone Upped To EVP Theatrical Distribution At eOne Films Canada
Entertainment One Films Canada has appointed Mark Slone to the newly created role of EVP Theatrical Distribution. Slone, was current SVP Acquisitions, will oversee all Canadian acquisitions and cross-functional theatrical teams at the country’s largest distributor. He’ll also represent the Canadian group alongside global acquisitions teams to source product for the Canadian slate. Collaborating with Harold van Lier’s international sales unit and Xavier Marchand’s production division, Slone will look to secure multi-territory opportunities for Canadian films. The exec joined eOne as SVP Acquisitions in 2013, following eOne’s acquisition of Alliance Films, where he had led the publicity team and later managed production and acquisition of Canadian content as well as government relations. He previously held positions at Odeon Films, Alliance Releasing and Warner Bros.
Digital Rights Group Inks First-Look Deal With Norway’s NRK
Digital Rights Group has entered a first-look deal with Norwegian broadcaster NRK to exclusively represent its stable of scripted content. The agreement covers both finished programs and formats and follows the extension of DRG and NRK’s existing arrangement on nonscripted formats. As part of Monday’s deal, DRG has acquired the international rights to Nordic noir thriller Eyewitness, which sees two teenagers witness a cold-blooded murder and form a pact never to tell what they saw, for fear their own secret affair could be revealed. But events and the investigation soon catch up with them. DRG has recently closed deals for three NRK formats in the U.S. including comedy Useless to Eddie October Productions and game show Adios and reality competition Nations Toughest to Mandalay Sports Media. Previous high-profile sales include drama Mammon and phenomenon Slow TV.