10 July 2000

Murdoch-owned satellite TV broadcaster BSkyB is believed to be in negotiation to acquire the stakes held by two of its three partners in digital interactive TV service Open.

If the talks are successful, Sky will raise its current 32.5% to a controlling 67.5%. Currently, HSBC bank holds 20% of Open, while Matsushita Electric Europe owns 15%. A deal could value Open at £1.5 billion.

The remaining 32.5% is held by BT, although it is believed that Sky intends to inject new capital into the enterprise which, unless matched by BT, would dilute the latter's stake to 15%. None of the parties were willing to comment on the matter.

News source: The Times (London)