| LONDON, April 10
LONDON, April 10 Pay TV group BSkyB has
received the backing of Crispin Odey, one of its top
shareholders and one of Europe's most influential hedge fund
managers, in the wake of last week's high-profile resignation of
James Murdoch as chairman.
Odey, whose London-based firm manages $6 billion in assets
and who has been a long-term holder of BSkyB shares, said he is
still positive on BSkyB, despite the loss of the "massively
Murdoch, who until last year was seen as heir apparent to
his father Rupert's media empire, resigned last Tuesday to
prevent his links to a tabloid phone-hacking scandal from
undermining the firm.
"I like Sky, I like Sky," Odey told Reuters on Tuesday. "In
an environment where everything else (is falling apart) it's a
good place to be.
"The whole way along (since we've owned it) everyone told us
that it hasn't got a chance ... but it's coped with technology
and now (as) a utility."
Odey, whose funds own 2.7 percent of BSkyB according to a
regulatory filing last year, said Murdoch had helped the
broadcaster successfully navigate the threats to its business
model posed by the Internet and other technological changes.
"James, who is younger than most, has been very good at
understanding the risks of technology. I don't want to lose
that," said Odey.
"He's very useful in the boardroom at Sky, it was his baby,"
Odey said. "The nice thing is that he's still on the board. It
(the resignation) has ensured people don't think it's too much
of a Murdoch board."
He added that James, whose conduct is under scrutiny by a
powerful parliamentary committee that is expected to deliver a
critical report in the coming weeks, may have become "tired" by
the constant focus on him.
"What I feel with all these guys is that if there's a long
war then in the end they get tired. Like Michael Queen at 3i,
they start to feel they're bringing the whole board down."