James Murdoch wins backing of Sky shareholders to stay as chairman

12 October, 2017, 20:20 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • The investigation is expected to last for six months

It is expected to witness some shareholder pressure for an independent chairman as James Murdoch is also chief executive of Fox, which wants to buy Sky.

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

Royal London, which has a 0.28% stake in Sky, resurfaced its concerns over the Fox-Sky deal ahead of the vote - saying the board's chairman should have no affiliation to either company.

More than 28% of shareholders voted against Mr Murdoch's comeback as chairman last year, four years after he stood down from the position in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at the News of the World.

"Independent oversight of the board is particularly important given Fox's ongoing bid to acquire Sky". 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.

One angry shareholder argued that the deal would not go through if James Murdoch remained in his post. (FOX), which has agreed to take full control of Sky, in a deal now being scrutinized by United Kingdom regulators.

Mr Darroch said the group's investment in production was "delivering", with customer viewing to Sky pay channels up 10% year-on-year.

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 past year.

On these two judgements, our view was we thought that Sky would continue genuinely to have a commitment to broadcasting standards.

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

Mr Darroch said it was a strong start to the new financial year: "Against the backdrop of pressure on consumer spending and lower spend on United Kingdom television advertising, we were particularly pleased with our own EBITDA growth of 15% in our established business".

The Sky AGM came as the company reported strong first quarter results, with 161,000 new customers and a 5 percent uptick in revenue of £3.3 billion.

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.

Sky said it added 160,000 new customers in its first quarter, which marks a 51% rise on a year earlier. The company launched new streaming services in Spain and Switzerland in the quarter.

Shares of Sky, which are valued at 1075p under 21st Century Fox's takeover bid, were up 18p at 931.5p this afternoon.

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