BSkyB’s £940 million share grab in commercial broadcaster ITV may have originally had the backing of a private equity partner. The Guardian reports that the private equity company pulled out at the last minute, leading to an emergency meeting between chief executive James Murdoch and his finance chief Jeremy Darroch. The suggestion is that had the private equity company remained on board, Sky may not have accrued the full 17.9% stake that has subsequently raised the attentions of the Competition Commission.
Following last week’s report from the Commission that Sky’s holding raised serious concerns, there is the possibility that the equity partner might now emerge to buy all or part of the share.
When Sky made the bid it was widely perceived to have been a spoiling tactic to prevent Virgin Media from buying into the commercial broadcaster. The new detail produces the faintest possibility that the purchase may have simply been an investment.