David Prosser: News Corp's final shot across the bows

Outlook Finally, did you spot how even in withdrawing yesterday, NewsCorp was still trying to call the shots? Its statement included a warning: if BSkyB pays a higher dividend than it has agreed so far, any future offer for the company from News Corp might be below the 700p bid first time around.

That appears to be a threat. As we report on page 29, Sky is now set to face great pressure to announce a special dividend at its results a fortnight tomorrow. Much to its chagrin, News Corp knows it will have to share that pay-out with fellow shareholders. The dividend warning was presumably meant to make it clear that if it is forced to share the spoils today, it will be less generous if and when tomorrow arrives.