New Zealand Rugby's move to take a 5 per cent stake in Sky TV could mean other broadcasters are locked out of rugby coverage in the future, an analyst says.
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Sky TV confirmed this morning it had acquired the All Blacks and Super Rugby Rights until 2025 .
The deal will see NZR take a 5 per cent stake in Sky, provided they get shareholder approval.
Adrian Allbon, a senior analyst at Craigs Investment Partners, said the deal was a good alignment for Sky shareholders.
He said it would also make it harder for rivals to take the rugby rights off Sky in the future.
"Spark Sport is effectively locked out of rugby."
While the 5 per cent stake would dilute other shareholders Allbon said he expected it to get the seal of approval from shareholders.
"When you are in a situation when you are fighting for your survival, it is better than the counterfactual."
Sources have told the Herald the deal could be worth $400 million. Allbon said in a way the cost was immaterial.
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"It was more important they just get them."
Shane Solly, a portfolio manager at Harbour Asset Management, said the deal was positive news for Sky shareholders and was an innovative transaction.
But he said the big question was the price.
"What this transaction has done is re-booted Sky TV. The risk was without rugby it would lose its existing subscriber base. But at what cost?"
Solly said decision to issue a 5 per cent stake to NZR was entrepreneurial.
"It's not unusual globally," he said pointing to deals in Europe where sports groups have invested in broadcasters.
"But we haven't seen it in this part of the world."
He said it could pave the way for other sporting codes to buy stakes in Sky in the future.
Solly said while the rugby deal was a good one there was still competition for other sports broadcast rights as well with Spark Sport fighting hard to retain the customers it had won with its Rugby World Cup deal.
"They are hungry for content."
Solly expected the cost of the rugby right transaction to be spread over the next five years but said that detail had yet to be confirmed.
It was also unclear if the 5 per cent stake was part of the payment.
Sky shares have risen more than 20 per cent on the market opening this morning to $1.07.
That's up from 89c on Friday after Sky's shares plummeted on Thursday from $1.11 to 88c after Spark announced it had secured the rights to New Zealand cricket .
Spark shares were flat on the market opening this morning at $4.46.
Sky said the agreement with the New Zealand, Australian, South African and Argentinian Rugby Unions was reached on Sunday evening.
In its statement to the stock exchange, Sky said the deeper partnership between NZR and Sky cemented the shared commitment to nurture and grow the game in New Zealand at all levels.
"The 5 per cent equity stake to be taken by NZR recognises the increased alignment and strengthened the relationship between Sky and NZR, their mutual support for one another and shared a commitment to develop and promote the game."
Sky will seek shareholder approval at its annual general meeting on Thursday with the shares issued on November 1.