Sky Posts Strong Quarter Prior to Takeover Battle Heating Up

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Pay-TV group Sky, which is at the center of a takeover battle pitting Fox, Comcast and Disney against one another, reported a strong fiscal third quarter Thursday, underlining its appeal to rival entertainment groups in the U.S. wanting to gain a foothold in Europe.

CEO Jeremy Darroch said the company, based in Britain, was in a strong place for the future, regardless of the company that emerges as its eventual owner.

Sky said it added 38,000 subscribers taking its full customer base to almost 23 million households.

Core earnings through March for the first nine months of its fiscal year were higher by 10% to £1.7 billion or $2.4 billion on revenue that was up 5% to over £10.1 billion.

The most recent battle to acquire Sky begin in December of 2016 when 21st Century-First Century Fox part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire and owner of 39% of the company announced his intentions to buy the remaining 61%.

Since that time, the deal has remained in the hands of regulators who are due to announce a decision in late June.

However, if Fox is given clearance it is not likely it will be Sky’s long-term owner. Murdoch has agreed to sell the majority of Fox to Disney for the price of $52.4 billion, including its Sky stake.

Fox ignored a higher offered it received from Comcast the cable giant located in the U.S. due to concerns over regulatory risk and stock value, showed a filing Wednesday.

After losing its battle, Comcast announced that it was considering making another offer to buy Sky, valuing it at $31 billion and exceeding the offer Fox agreed to.

On Thursday, sources said that some interaction has taken place between Comcast and Sky as far as regulator process is concerned.

Comcast and Fox/Disney want to acquire Sky to beef up against online companies such as Amazon.com and Netflix.

Sky is continuing to make improvements to its products and services as a way to ensure it provided content entertainment that the customer wanted.

It is set to launch its own streaming service Spotify in its Sky Q platform in less than a week, and will be offering Netflix in its package for Britain prior to the end of 2018.

Sky said customers will see even more entertainment choices through the company’s pioneering partnerships with Spotify and Netflix and its new Premier League contract which keeps the rights for the UK through 2022.

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