Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

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

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

The broadcaster said in a statement: "The board notes the significant vote against resolution 3, the directors' remuneration report, and resolution 12, the re-election of James Murdoch, and will continue to engage with shareholders to understand their views as part of its ongoing programme of engagement".

Murdoch got 78.0 percent of the shareholder vote in his support, up from 71.6 percent past year.

However, investors voted more than 78 percent in favour of his re-election at an annual general meeting at Sky's London headquarters later on Thursday.

Mr Murdoch won 51% of votes cast by independent shareholders at the annual general meeting - up from 49% previous year. It also said executive pay at Sky was too complex and that bosses could receive huge payouts if the Fox deal goes through.

In response to the question about the Fox News scandal, Darroch said the "whole board are incredibly supportive and behind Sky" and that it wanted to make a "broader contribution" to society. He had previously been CEO of Sky's United Kingdom -only predecessor BSkyB between 2003 and 2007 and then chairman until April 2012 before becoming a non-executive director on the board.

Some institutional shareholders had criticized Murdoch's appointment as chairman, arguing that could pose a conflict of interest given his role as CEO of Sky's largest shareholder.

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. The U.K. regulatory review of the deal is expected to run through early next year.

21st Century Fox has welcomed a statement from the UK's Competition and Markets Authority which today set out more detail about what it intends to examine in its investigation into the proposed takeover of Sky by Fox.

Sky confirmed in its annual report last month that chief executive Jeremy Darroch's total annual pay packet more than trebled to £16.3m (€18.1m) previous year despite annual profits being hit by the cost of broadcasting live Premier League football.

In terms of looking at broadcasting standards, the CMA said it is seeking views and evidence on whether the merged entity, post-transaction, will have a "genuine commitment to broadcasting standards objectives".

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

"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".

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.

Chief executive Jeremy Darroch said the group's investment in production was "delivering", with customer viewing to Sky pay channels up 10% year-on-year. It reported that the first series of home-grown drama Riviera achieved 20 million downloads, becoming its highest ever rated Original commission and Game of Thrones became the most watched series ever on Sky. The company launched new streaming services in Spain and Switzerland in the quarter.

21st Century Fox and News Corp, parent company of Dow Jones, share common ownership.

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