PLOT THICK­ENS IN SKY’S GAME OF CHAIRS

The Observer - - COMMENT / LETTERS + EMAILS -

Sky’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on Fri­day could be a lively af­fair. The broad­caster is the sub­ject of a takeover bid by Ru­pert Mur­doch’s 21st Cen­tury Fox, which al­ready owns 39%. The cul­ture sec­re­tary, Karen Bradley, asked the com­pe­ti­tion reg­u­la­tor to re­view the bid last month, partly be­cause of con­cerns about gov­er­nance at Fox, whose Fox News has been dogged by sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions.

Mur­doch’s son James – Sky’s chair­man and Fox’s chief ex­ec­u­tive – warned the gov­ern­ment it could not af­ford to turn away Fox’s bid amid un­cer­tainty over Brexit. Will he have more to say on Fri­day?

Adding to pres­sure on the firm, three large share­holder ad­vis­ers have rec­om­mended vot­ing against James’s reap­point­ment as chair. His dual roles at Sky and Fox mean he is not in­de­pen­dent, they ar­gue.

Then there is the spi­ralling cost of the broad­cast­ing rights to the English Premier League, the main at­trac­tion for Sky sub­scribers. Sky and BT split the rights un­der the cur­rent deal but Ama­zon and other pow­er­ful in­ter­lop­ers are hov­er­ing.

Kit Har­ing­ton as Jon Snow in Sky hit Game ofThrones.

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