British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSY), the U.K. pay-TV provider that is to buy European pay-TV assets of 21st Century Fox Inc. (NWSA:US), said revenue rose 5.5 percent as more customers took its TV, phone and Internet services.
Full-year sales were 7.63 billion pounds ($12.97 billion), the company, which is 39 percent controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox, said today. The average estimate of analysts in a Bloomberg survey was 7.62 billion pounds. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and some items in the year ended June 30 was 1.67 billion pounds, compared with analysts’ estimate of 1.66 billion pounds, amid a one-time increase in Premier League costs and investments in its TV services.
BSkyB, based in Isleworth, England, is to buy Fox’s Sky Italia unit and 57 percent stake in Sky Deutschland to expand in Europe. It offers TV, Internet and phone services and has been encouraging subscribers to use more products, such as Sky GO, which allows viewing on mobiles and laptops. The company competes with BT Group Plc in the U.K. in areas including broadband sales and sports rights to lure customers.
“Strong demand across the board has translated to a 7 percent increase in revenues,” Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Darroch said in the statement, referring to adjusted revenue. BSkyB said it added 342,000 new customers, the highest customer growth in three years.
Purchasing the Fox assets gives BSkyB, the biggest pay-TV provider in the U.K., companies that sell satellite and cable programs to 8.5 million homes in Germany and Italy. That gives it more heft when negotiating entertainment and sports rights in a region where about 40 percent of households have a pay-TV subscription, compared with about 90 percent in the U.S.
By disposing of the continental units, Fox would be left with cable and broadcast networks plus movie and TV studios, making it more attractive to investors who want to bet on production.
Murdoch could use the proceeds to boost his offer for Time Warner Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
BSkyB spends about 2 billion pounds a year on content and this week agreed to buy a 70 percent stake in the U.K.’s Love Productions, producer of shows including “Great British Bake-off,” as part of its strategy to develop its international production and distribution business.
BSkyB rose 1.2 percent to 925 pence in London trading yesterday, taking the advance to 9.6 percent this year and giving the company a market value of 15.6 billion pounds.
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