BSkyB posts record results, distances itself from NewsCorp
LONDON, May 2 – Satellite broadcaster BSkyB sought to distance itself from the phone hacking controversy at its biggest shareholder today after British lawmakers suggested the ties to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp might endanger its licence.
A parliamentary report yesterday dropped a heavy hint to regulator Ofcom, which is investigating whether BSkyB is a “fit and proper” broadcaster, by saying in its opinion Murdoch was “not a fit person” to oversee a major international company.
Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch, who has previously said very little on the Ofcom investigation, used the publication of record financial results to stress BSkyB’s importance to the British economy.
“I would emphasise that it’s important to remember that Sky and News Corporation are separate companies,” he told reporters.
“We believe that Sky’s track record as a broadcaster is the most important factor in determining our fitness to hold a licence,” he said, reporting record 9 month adjusted operating profit up 15 per cent.
Darroch’s willingness to speak out on the subject highlights the growing concern at News Corp and BSkyB that Ofcom could force the former to cut its stake in the latter following its investigation, which is centred on BSkyB’s owners and officers.
The regulator said it was looking at the parliamentary report. It is not obliged to agree with its conclusions and has not given a time frame for any decision. – Reuters