Todd Corp ends 22-year interest in Sky TV with $218M sale

Nov. 2 (BusinessDesk) - Todd Communications, part of the privately owned Todd Corp, agreed to sell its 11.1 percent stake in Sky Network Television for $218 million, ending a 22-year tie up with the listed pay-TV operator controlled by BskyB as it rotates capital into new ventures.

Todd Communications sold the 43.2 million shares at $5.05 apiece, a 5.8 percent discount to their trading price yesterday. The agreement is dated Nov. 1 and is expected to settle on Nov. 8, when Todd will file a notice of ceasing to be a substantial holder of the company. The shares fell 4.3 percent to $5.13 in trading today.

Former Todd Capital managing director Robert Bryden has been deputy chairman of Sky TV since 2001 and a director since 1990. He retired from Todd Capital in September 2011.

A spokesman for Todd declined to comment on the motivation for the deal. Sky TV chief executive John Fellet said Todd has said it was “capital rotation” and he wouldn’t be surprised to see a new Todd investment emerge in coming months.

“I thanked them for all their support over the years,” Fellet told BusinessDesk. The Todds had been invested in Sky TV longer than he had run the company.

The Todds are among New Zealand’s richest families. The group appeared on the register in 1997 following Sky’s initial public offering. Sky Network Television as it is known today was created in 2005 when Sky merged with INL and Todd increased its stake.

First NZ Capital Securities, the local affiliate of Credit Suisse, disclosed a 5.5 percent interest in Sky TV, partly reflecting its role as a sub-underwriter of a sale of shares by Todd Communications and partly because of shares held by its Harbour Asset Management unit, it said in a separate statement.

Shares of Sky TV are up 1.3 percent this year. The stock is rated ‘hold’ based on a Reuters poll of 10 recommendations, with a price target of $5.275.

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