CMA details scope of Fox-Sky investigation in issues statement

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. The investors argue that Fox's attempt to buy the United Kingdom group presents a conflict of interest for Murdoch who is both chairman of Sky and chief executive of 21st Century Fox.

Asked by members of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee about that decision, Ms White said Ofcom had carried out a thorough review of recent activity at both 21st Century Fox and also at News Corporation - the owner of The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times - which until 2013 were both part of the same company.

Royal London, which holds a 44 million pound ($58 million) stake in Sky, was one of the investors which planned to vote against James Murdoch's re-election, saying he could not effectively represent independent shareholders while he was chief executive of Fox.

Mr Murdoch won 51% of votes cast by independent shareholders at the annual general meeting - up from 49% previous year.

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

Earlier this week, Fox said it was co-operating with the UK's Competition and Marktes Authority, which is probing the proposed acquisition of the 61% that Fox doesn't already own. "Fox is getting a sweetheart deal out of this and mainly I think it's because of the lack of independence on the board".

Almost half of independent shareholders voted to oppose Mr Murdoch's reappointment amid concerns over his role as chief executive of 21st Century Fox, which is attempting to seize control of the 61% of Sky it does not already own in an £11.7 billion deal.

Sky is also set to update the market with results for the three months to 30 September on Thursday. The pay package handed to Sky's chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, quadrupled to more than £16m in the year to the end of June, despite a hefty fall in annual profits at the broadcaster's United Kingdom and Ireland business.

"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.

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.

Game of Thrones helped Sky increase customer numbers by 51 per cent in the first quarter, as revenue and earnings also grew.

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