Maybe I’m the only one who found themselves a bit perplexed by the timing of the deal between the Fox stations and Oak Hill Capital. For the record, the $1.1 billion deal on the eight stations was announced this past Saturday, December 22, when mostly everyone who cares about this stuff was knee-deep in holiday shopping, or half-skunked on spiked egg nog. According to analysts, the stations sold at a 10.5 multiple–considerably lower than the 13-14 multiples of recent deals.
Of course, Fox and Oak Hill can do deals whenever they please, and certainly don’t need to do them when it suits the rest of the world. If they see fit to do serious business a few days before Christmas, they’re more dedicated to their jobs than most people I know. Indeed, a News Corp. spokesperson called the timing of the transaction "a normal course of business."
Still, the timing seems weird. And the only other News Corp. press release issued on a weekend day in 2007, according to the News Corp. site, was a Sunday, January 21st announcement that the CEO of STAR Group, India and CEO of STAR Entertainment, India, had resigned.