CMA To Examine Fox/Sky Deal's Impact On Media Plurality, Broadcasting Standards

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

Announcing group results for the three months ending September 30, Sky said that it added 160,000 new customers - 90,000 in Germany and Austria, and 70,000 in the United Kingdom (though figures were flat in Italy) - spurred by strong campaigns in all markets around Game of Thrones.

Operating costs were flat year-on-year, which meant underlying earnings (EBITDA) jumped 11% to £582mln.

Meanwhile the takeover of Sky is being held up by a United Kingdom investigation into the proposed deal worth £11.7 billion.

Sky recorded record entertainment audiences in its fiscal first quarter and grew its customer numbers by 51% year-on-year, helped by the launch of season seven of Game of Thrones. It hopes to squeeze even more out of them as well going forward with the launch of new, flexible sports packages created to engage the estimated 4mln sports fans in its United Kingdom customer base who don't now take Sky Sports.

Mr Murdoch's bid to control the whole of the broadcaster was referred last month by the Government for a lengthy review to assess his commitment to British broadcasting standards and his influence in the media.

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Sky believes the market as a whole was down by around 2% in the United Kingdom during the period but said its advertising business still turned in a "good performance...against the backdrop of a hard market".

"We've had a strong start to our new financial year with good revenue growth and excellent profit growth", said chief executive Jeremy Darroch.

He added: "Looking ahead, despite the uncertainty in the broader consumer environment, we remain on track with our plans and enter the busy second quarter trading period focused on delivering our clear strategy for growth".

UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has set out more details about what it intends to examine in its investigation into the proposed takeover of Sky Plc by 21st Century Fox, which owns STAR India. The fantasy series is now the most-watched ever shown on Sky.

The 21CF release added: Reference is made to the announcement made on 15 December 2016 by the 21st Century Fox Board and the Independent Committee of Sky that they had reached agreement on the terms of a recommended pre-conditional cash offer by 21st Century Fox for the fully diluted share capital of Sky which 21st Century Fox and its Affiliates do not already own.

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