Sky deal: James Murdoch faces shareholders at annual meeting

Danny Woods
October 13, 2017

Last year, Sky's board tapped Murdoch to become its chairman.

That included votes cast on behalf of 21st Century Fox, Sky's largest shareholder, which is capped at 37.19% - and means that Mr Murdoch's appointment was also backed by a majority of independent shareholders.

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.

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.

The Institute of Directors had urged Sky top consider replacing Murdoch as chair if he had fallen below 50 percent support of shareholders not affiliated with Fox.

Fox late past year struck a deal to take full control of Sky.

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. In late 2014, after BSkyB acquired Fox's Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, the bigger company changed its name to Sky.

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

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.

Earlier, Sky reported what were regarded by City analysts as strong results for the first three months of its financial year.

European pay-TV giant Sky, facing a possible takeover by Rupert Murdoch´s 21st Century Fox, announced Thursday a surge in subscribers on keen demand for cult USA series Game of Thrones.

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.

Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said Sky was growing both revenue and profit in a tougher consumer market thanks to its new products, and a TV line-up that includes thriller "Riviera", its most successful original production to date, and "Game of Thrones".

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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