Sky Stock Rises on Latest Deal Chatter

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Renewed talk about past interest from Vivendi and Vodafone causes more debate about the future of the pan-European pay TV operator and Fox's 39 percent stake in it.

Shares in pan-European pay TV operator Sky rose as much as 5 percent early Monday amid more debate about the company's possible future.

U.K. telecom giant Vodafone and French media and telecom giant Vivendi separately considered bids for 21st Century Fox's 39 percent stake in Sky, according to the Telegraph.

As previously reported, debate about Fox's plans for its Sky stake has returned as Rupert Murdoch is set to focus on his chairman role, with son James Murdoch becoming CEO in July.

Informal consideration of a possible bid has over the past year come from Vivendi, which owns French pay TV provider Canal Plus, and Vodafone, the Telegraph said, adding no formal bids were ever made. Citing unnamed sources, the report also suggested that Fox would only sell the stake for a big premium. Spokesmen for Fox and Vivendi declined to comment. Representatives of Sky couldn't immediately be reached.

Fox in 2011 abandoned an attempt to buy 100 percent control of what was then BSkyB amid rising opposition due to the phone-hacking scandal. Since then, analysts have repeatedly discussed the question of whether Fox would keep its stake unchanged, try getting 100 percent again or sell its stake.

Despite a lack of actual bids, Sky's stock rose as much as 5 percent in early Monday trading as analysts said the chatter seemed to suffice in getting investors talking again about various possible deal scenarios that may or may not materialize. After an early spike, the stock settled down later in the day. As of 2 p.m. London time, it was up 2.9 percent, below its 52-week high.

Twitter: @georgszalai

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