Even the rugby can’t save Sky TV

Simon Shields, Principal at Monash Investors, knew there was something wrong at Sky Network TV (which is listed on both the ASX and NZX) when they posted their first fall in subscriber numbers in 20 years. Upon investigation, they found that NZ brokers were hesitant to say anything negative about Sky as many of their clients owned it, and NZ is a relatively small market. “One of the arguments that NZ brokers put up was that everyone in New Zealand gets rugby, and they won’t want to drop their rugby, it’s just too important. In fact, only 75% of Sky TV’s customers were getting the rugby anyway, so there’s quite a lot of people that could drop their Sky TV subscriptions.” Despite a short relief-rally, the stock has since fallen on the back of a further downgrade, but it might not be over yet. “We think there are further downgrades to come.”

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In 2012, Monash Investors was established by one of Australia’s most experienced fund managers in Simon Shields, the previous head of equities at both UBS and CFS, and Shane Fitzgerald a senior equity analyst from UBS and JPMorgan. The firm was...

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