Sky takeover probe to focus on media plurality, broadcasting standards

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch at Sky’s London HQ

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch at Sky’s London HQ

In response, Martin Gilbert, Sky's deputy chairman, pointed out that Sky's board had formed an independent committee to evaluate the terms of 21st Century Fox's takeover, which he said had met 11 times since the takeover approach was tabled in December a year ago.

Sky's subscriber base swelled by a 160,000 new customers in the three months to late September, up 51 percent on a year earlier, it said in a trading update.

On a constant currency basis, Sky reported a 5% year-on-year increase in revenues at £3.3 billion (US$4.4 billion).

The committee includes Mr Gilbert, Jeremy Darroch, Sky's chief executive and Andrew Griffith, Sky's chief operating officer.

Sky said that the HBO drama was its "highest rating show ever" with 4.7 million viewers, while Riviera concluded as its most successful original drama with 20 million downloads.

The London-listed group has exclusive rights to United States broadcasting giant HBO's television catalogue, which includes the current season of the award-winning show.

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"The board notes the significant vote against resolution 3, the director's remuneration report and resolution 12, the re-election of James Murdoch, and will continue to engage with shareholders to understand their views as part of its ongoing programme of engagement".

The motion to reappoint Mr Murdoch, a former chief executive of Sky, was passed with 78% of votes.

Regulators on Tuesday said the probe would assess Rupert Murdoch's influence on Britain's political landscape.

On Tuesday, the Competition and Markets Authority outlined the scope of its inquiry into how the deal would affect United Kingdom media plurality and broadcasting standards, and invited submissions for the six-month investigation.

The CMA will seek to prevent "any one media owner, or voice, having too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda".

The CMA notably says it welcomes views and evidence on the current approach of Fox, Sky, the Murdoch Family Trust and News Corp to compliance with broadcasting standards; and the approach of the parties to effective corporate governance and other applicable regulations, including regulations relating to the treatment of employees, in the United Kingdom and overseas. It will assess also the current state of plurality within the United Kingdom media, and the commitment to accuracy in newspapers controlled by the MFT's News Corp division, including The Times and The Sun.

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