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

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

Sky - now the subject of an £11.7bn (€13bn) takeover bid from Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox - said it added 160,000 new customers in its first quarter, which marks a 51% rise on a year earlier.

Ahead of the meeting some shareholders had said they were planning to oppose Murdoch's re-election because they did not believe he could effectively represent independent investors as he is also chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox.

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.

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

Mr Darroch said the group's investment in production was "delivering", with customer viewing to Sky pay channels up 10% year-on-year.

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.

Quizzed by Labour MP Paul Farrelly about whether recent allegations about sexual harassment at Fox News had been taken into consideration, Ms White explained that Ofcom had looked in detail at the corporate governance of both companies, both recently and longer ago.

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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.

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

Like-for-like revenues were up five per cent to £3.3bn in the three months to 30 September, from £3.1bn this time a year ago.

"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".

It has already added 800,000 new subscription products this year bringing the total to over 60 million. The company launched new streaming services in Spain and Switzerland in the quarter.

The group said Game Of Thrones was its "most-watched series ever", while it also hailed home-grown series Riviera after it notched up 20 million downloads.

Shares of Sky, which are valued at 1075p under 21st Century Fox's takeover bid, were up 18p at 931.5p this afternoon.

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