Sky Looking into Buying TalkTalk’s Business Direct

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The television and telecommunications company is among a limited group of potential purchasers for TalkTalk Business Direct, according to a report by The Sunday Times, which does not cite its sources. The publication also identifies business communications provider Daisy Group as a probable contender.

Speculation surrounding the fate of TalkTalk and its diverse assets has been ongoing for some time now, with multiple UK telecom companies looking to enhance their portfolios. Concerning TalkTalk’s business operations, solid rumours emerged earlier this year when Sky News reported that the assets were on the market, with US-based investment bank Houlihan Lokey chosen by the telecom firm to manage the sale.

During that period, the news outlet suggested that TalkTalk Business Direct might command a price tag as high as £200 million. However, The Sunday Times suggests a more conservative estimate, proposing that the unit and its 80,000 customers could fetch £150 million.

The article provides no further insight into Sky’s potential involvement in the acquisition of TalkTalk Business Direct, but the company’s inclusion on the list is easily understandable.

Less than 18 months ago, Sky was connected to a potential purchase of the entire TalkTalk entity. Although the likes of Sky and Vodafone tentatively approached TalkTalk, no agreement materialized. Given that TalkTalk’s founder, Charles Dunstone, reportedly appraised the business at approximately £3 billion, the lack of fruition in those rumors is perhaps unsurprising.

An acquisition of the entirety of TalkTalk would likely be strategically beneficial for Sky, supporting its efforts to expand and more effectively compete against rivals like BT. Yet, gaining a foothold in the business sector would also prove advantageous for Sky, as it seeks to bolster its Sky Business division.

However, Sky is not the sole party displaying interest. The previously mentioned Daisy Group initially brokered a £175 million deal to purchase TalkTalk Business Direct in May 2018, yet the agreement disintegrated less than two months later. Neither party disclosed the specific reasons behind the failure to reach final terms.

If the media reports are accurate, Daisy Group’s apparent willingness to re-engage suggests that there might not have been any fundamental irreconcilabilities between the two entities. It’s reasonable to consider that the revised, lower valuation could be influencing this resurgence of interest.

Of course, there exist numerous UK-based telecommunications and broadband providers focusing on business clientele, and they might find themselves in a similar scenario.

Further details are expected to emerge before an extended period. The newspaper indicates that TalkTalk’s advisors from Houlihan Lokey are aiming to finalize the sale in the upcoming weeks.

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