LONDON: Rupert Murdoch (pictured) is not well known for backing losers but even the Teflon-coated media magnate can't buck the law of averages – least of all (according to superstition) in a leap year.
A spoiling 17.9% stake in the UK's largest broadcaster ITV was seized in November 2006 by NewsCorp-controlled satellite monopoly British Sky Broadcasting Group in a successful attempt to torpedo the latter's merger with Virgin Media.
Two months ago Britain's Competition Commission ruled that the stake be reduced to below 7.5%, a decision promptly appealed by Sky and rejected on Friday by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
But a sell-down will cost Clan Murdoch dear, given that ITV's share have nosedived since Sky acquired the stake for £940 million ($1.4bn; €1.1bn).
If the stake is reduced to 7.5% now, the fall in the broadcaster's market capitalisation will cost the clan in the region of £700m
With nothing to lose except £700m, Sky intends a further plea to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the CAT decision.
If granted, the eventual decision – perhaps eighteen months hence given the torpidity of the English legal system – could coincide with an upsurge in ITV's stock.
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff