Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

James Murdoch re-elected Sky chair despite shareholder rebellion

James Murdoch re-elected Sky chair despite shareholder rebellion

The takeover, which is now being scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority on public interest grounds having been cleared by regulators in all the other countries in which Sky broadcasts, values the whole of the company at £18.5bn.

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".

He refused, however, to answer questions from investors about whether Sky's reputation could be insulated from the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, which led to the departure of its chair, Roger Ailes, who has since died, and its anchor, Bill O'Reilly.

Its view was not held by the majority, however, with Murdoch winning the backing of 51 percent.

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The results were announced against the backdrop of a bid from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox to buy the remaining 61% of Sky it does not already own.

Murdoch told the meeting that he expected the regulatory process to conclude by the middle of 2018. He also refused to comment on whether Fox was getting a "sweetheart deal" on the price it will pay for Sky.

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Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, has defended the decision made by the regulator over 21st Century Fox's proposed takeover of Sky.

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The pay-TV operator said that it had added 160,000 new customers in the three months to September 30 after an earlier commitment to increase investment in original programming by 25 per cent.

"We are especially pleased with the strength of the company's performance given the challenging consumer environment", Murdoch said.

She added: "We did not find a particular concern that would have caused us to believe that Sky News in particular and Sky as a broadcaster, post-transaction, would not be a fit and proper broadcaster".

"The total number of subscription products in our base of homes now sits comfortably above 60 million". The company launched new streaming services in Spain and Switzerland in the quarter.

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Sky's shares were trading at 9.29 pounds at 1505 GMT, up 1.7 percent but still well adrift of the 10.75 pounds-a-share offer.

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