Shares in Sky (LON:SKY) have gained ground in London this morning, outperforming the broader UK market, after the company posted an upbeat start to its financial year. The update comes as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) continues to examine 21st Century Fox’s bid for the FTSE 100 company.
As of 08:26 BST, Sky’s share price had added 0.38 percent to 917.00p, outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.02 percent higher at 7,535.29 points. The group’s shares have added more than six percent to their value over the past year, but are down by some seven percent in the year-to-date.
Sky posts revenue and earnings growth
Sky announced in a statement this morning that its like-for-like revenue had increased by five percent to £3.3 billion in the first quarter of its financial year. The group’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation meanwhile came in 11 percent higher at £582 million.
“We’ve had a strong start to our new financial year with good revenue growth and excellent profit growth as investments we've made come through,” the group’s chief executive Jeremy Darroch commented in the statement, adding that fantasy drama Game of Thrones had “become the most watched series ever on Sky,” while the group’s home-grown drama Riviera had achieved 20 million downloads.
The company further noted that it had added 160,000 new customers, up 51 percent on the prior year helped by strong campaigns in all markets around the most recent season of Game of Thrones.
Fox takeover update
Sky also updated investors on the Fox bid process, noting that the offer was currently being reviewed on public interest grounds by the CMA which has a statutory deadline of March 6 to send its report to the UK Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who referred the deal for in-depth review.
The BBC meanwhile reported that James Murdoch is poised to defend his position as Sky’s chairman at the group’s annual shareholder meeting today, with a trio of advisory firms having called on shareholders to vote against his re-election. The investors argue that Fox’s attempt to buy the UK group presents a conflict of interest for Murdoch who is both chairman of Sky and chief executive of 21st Century Fox.