CMA outlines scope of Sky, Fox investigation

CMA outlines scope of Sky, Fox investigation

CMA outlines scope of Sky, Fox investigation

Mr Murdoch is chief executive of Fox.

Martin Gilbert, the deputy chair, said the board had looked at the Fox takeover in the best interests of shareholders and had impartial discussions that did not include Murdoch or other Sky directors with connections to Fox.

Sky shareholders on Thursday reelected all board members, including 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, who serves as chairman of the European pay TV giant and again faced opposition from some shareholders going into the annual meeting.

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

Observers said that the result meant that slightly more than 50 percent of independent shareholders backed Murdoch, 44, this year, compared with last year when slightly more than 50 percent had not supported him.

James Murdoch remains chairman of Sky despite a significant number of shareholders opposing his re-election.

Fox, which now owns 39.1% of Sky, is trying to buy full control of the business in a deal that would value the parent of Sky News at £18.5bn.

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The British government referred Fox's $15 billion (11.38 billion pounds) bid for a detailed investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last month to assess the Murdoch family's commitment to British broadcasting standards and its influence in the media.

"Are you confident that the CMA won't unearth new Fox scandals which derail the bid?", Alaphia Zoyab from activist group Avaaz asked. In late 2014, after BSkyB acquired Fox's Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, the bigger company changed its name to Sky.

Sharon White said that while the broadcasting and telecoms regulator had uncovered evidence of "extremely disturbing" behaviour at Fox News, which is owned by 21st Century Fox, it did not follow that Sky would not deserve a broadcasting licence following a takeover.

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".

In terms of programming, Sky said Riviera became its most-watched original series ever in period, and Game of Thrones the most-watched series ever on Sky.

"We continue to see good demand for our products and services with 51% more new customers joining Sky than a year ago".

Shares of Sky, which are valued at 1075p under 21st Century Fox's takeover bid, closed 13p higher at 926.5p.

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