United Kingdom probe into Fox-Sky deal to assess Murdoch influence

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch at Sky’s London HQ

Sky PLC (SKY.LN) on Thursday reported that all resolutions were passed at its annual general meeting, but motions to reappoint James Murdoch as chairman and to approve the directors' remuneration report had lower levels of support.

Murdoch got 78.0 percent of the shareholder vote in his support, up from 71.6 percent a year ago.

When including Fox's 39% holding in Sky, 78% of shareholders backed his reappointment.

Nearly 22 percent of all shareholders opposed Mr Murdoch and 48.5 percent of independent shareholders. That is Rupert Murdoch, chairman of 21st Century Fox and any business or person he touches. He had previously been CEO of Sky's United Kingdom -only predecessor BSkyB between 2003 and 2007 and then chairman until April 2012 before becoming a non-executive director on the board.

"We've had a strong start to our new financial year with good revenue growth and excellent profit growth as investments we've made come through", said group chief executive Jeremy Darroch.

It is hard to see, if you are not a UK citizen, why the UK Culture Secretary has referred the bid of 21ST Century Fox for 100% of Sky, to the Competition and Markets Authority.

Quizzed by Labour MP Paul Farrelly about whether recent allegations about sexual harassment at Fox News had been taken into consideration, Ms White explained that Ofcom had looked in detail at the corporate governance of both companies, both recently and longer ago.

Twenty-First Century Fox, which already owns 39 percent of Sky, agreed to buy the rest of the company in December 2016, a deal which is now being reviewed by Britain's competition regulators.

He told shareholders he was "pretty confident" that this would not have an effect on the CMA's investigation.

Fox's US$15 billion bid for Sky is now with United Kingdom competition watchdogs.

Like-for-like revenues were up five per cent to £3.3bn in the three months to 30 September, from £3.1bn this time previous year.

Sky said it added 160,000 new customers in its first quarter, which marks a 51% rise on a year earlier.

The group said fantasy drama Game Of Thrones was now its "most-watched series ever", while it also hailed home-grown series Riviera after it notched up 20 million downloads.

He pointed out that in addition to Sky's existing markets - the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy - the company had just launched consumer streaming services in Spain and Switzerland.

21st Century Fox (21CF) has welcomed the publication by the CMA of the Issues Statement.

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