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

AM ET CMA Outlines Review of 21st Century Fox  Sky Deal Will be looking at diversity of voices broadcast standards

AM ET CMA Outlines Review of 21st Century Fox Sky Deal Will be looking at diversity of voices broadcast standards

James Murdoch was re-elected as Sky chairman by a slim majority of independent shareholders on Thursday, despite questions being raised about whether he can be neutral due to his role as chief executive at bidder Twenty-First Century 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.

Murdoch said at the Sky annual meeting that the companies were "engaged constructively with the regulatory authorities" about the deal.

The Murdoch family's Fox is trying to buy the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own.

They claimed that, because Fox is now trying to buy full control of Sky, he could not be a completely independent chairman of the latter.

Almost 22% of all shareholders, and more than 48% of independent ones, opposed Murdoch being allowed to continue in the post.

The shareholder, Hugh Lawson, said: "I think the board lacks independence".

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The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says it will investigate how 21st Century Fox's proposed takeover of Sky would affect media plurality and broadcasting standards in the UK.

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

A United Kingdom investigation into a planned takeover of TV giant Sky by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox will assess the tycoon's influence on the country's political landscape, regulators said Tuesday.

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.

According to the statement it released today, European production business is a key priority for growth and the company will be investing 25% more in Sky Originals programming across its territories this year.

Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, said that the good revenue growth and excellent profit growth was achieved against the backdrop of pressure on consumer spending and lower spend on United Kingdom television advertising.

"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", the group's chief executive Jeremy Darroch commented in the statement, adding that fantasy drama Game of Thrones had "become the most watched series ever on Sky", while the group's home-grown drama Riviera had achieved 20 million downloads.

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