FILE - This Friday, July 25, 2014, file photo shows a view of the headquarters of the Italian Sky television broadcaster in Milan, Italy. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has increased its bid to take full control of Sky in a prolonged battle with Comcast for the lucrative pay TV service. Fox Wednesday, July 11, 2018 increased its bid to 14 pounds ($18.58) a share as it seeks the 61 percent of Sky not already under its control. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)
Sky television centre in Milan. The company is in a good position, says its chief executive, amid a takeover battle. AP

UK TV broadcaster Sky's earnings surge



UPDATE:

Comcast is reporting a stronger than expected second-quarter profit even as it struggles to keep cable TV subscribers, according to AP.

Earnings reported Thursday were $3.22 billion, or 69 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were 65 cents per share, which, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research, was 4 cents better than expected.

Revenue was $21.74vn in the period, just short of expectations.

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, lost 140,000 cable TV subscribers during the quarter.

Sky's annual net profits have jumped 17 per cent, the pan-European television broadcaster said on Thursday, as US media giants Comcast and 21st Century Fox battle for control of the group.

Sky's profit after tax increased to £815 million (Dh3.95 billion) in the 12 months to June 30, compared with its 2016-17 financial year.

Subscriber numbers grew by more than 500,000, to 23 million, helping to lift revenue by 5 per cent to £13.6m, AFP reported.

"It's been an exceptional year. We've delivered another set of strong results," Sky chief executive Jeremy Darroch said in the earnings statement.

"Our strong performance reflects the execution of our strategy over an extended period of time, driving sustained growth in revenue, profits and shareholder returns," he added.

Lee Wild, head of equity strategy at Interactive Investor, said Sky had shown just why Fox and Comcast were fighting tooth and nail for control of the satellite broadcaster.

"These numbers and a bullish plan for further aggressive growth in the current financial year are clearly presented to squeeze the maximum from potential buyers," he told Reuters. "It could work."

Cable giant Comcast recently raised its bid for Sky to £26m, shortly after Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox hiked its own offer to value the prized company at £24.5mn.

Sky's "share price is still trading around 30 pence above Comcast's £14.75 bid price, so investors clearly believe a better offer will be forthcoming from Fox", Laith Khalaf, senior analyst at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown said on Thursday.

Fox – and by proxy Disney – has until August 9 to increase its bid for Sky, a move that could cause British regulators to trigger an auction procedure.

Traditional media giants are looking to beef up their creative offerings to compete with Netflix and other streaming services, AFP said.

Sky's jewel in the crown is its live coverage of English Premier League football, while the company provides also broadband internet and telephone services.

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Analysts say Comcast is favourite to win Sky after it recently dropped out of a bidding war with Disney for prized film and television operations of 21st Century Fox.

Comcast itself has said it would now focus on acquiring Sky.

However, 21st Century Fox is not expected to just sit back, after the UK government earlier this month cleared the way for Mr Murdoch's group to take full control of Sky having agreed to address media plurality concerns.

Fox's long-running pursuit for the 61 per cent of Sky it does not own had been plagued by government concerns also over broadcasting standards – and the influence of Australian-born US citizen Mr Murdoch.

Critics argued that allowing Mr Murdoch – who owns major British newspaper titles The Times and The Sun – full control of Sky News would give him too much influence in the UK news business.

To remedy this, Fox has proposed to sell the rolling TV news channel to Disney should it win full control of Sky.

“This business has got really good momentum,” Mr Darroch said, according to Bloomberg.

“Whatever the future holds for any of us, Sky is in a really good place.”

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver review

Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Ed Skrein, Sir Anthony Hopkins
Rating: 2/5

'Top Gun: Maverick'

Rating: 4/5

Directed by: Joseph Kosinski

Starring: Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Miles Teller, Glen Powell, Ed Harris

Global institutions: BlackRock and KKR

US-based BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager, with $5.98 trillion of assets under management as of the end of last year. The New York firm run by Larry Fink provides investment management services to institutional clients and retail investors including governments, sovereign wealth funds, corporations, banks and charitable foundations around the world, through a variety of investment vehicles.

KKR & Co, or Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is a global private equity and investment firm with around $195 billion of assets as of the end of last year. The New York-based firm, founded by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, invests in multiple alternative asset classes through direct or fund-to-fund investments with a particular focus on infrastructure, technology, healthcare, real estate and energy.

 

'My Son'

Director: Christian Carion

Starring: James McAvoy, Claire Foy, Tom Cullen, Gary Lewis

Rating: 2/5

Breast cancer in men: the facts

1) Breast cancer is men is rare but can develop rapidly. It usually occurs in those over the ages of 60, but can occasionally affect younger men.

2) Symptoms can include a lump, discharge, swollen glands or a rash. 

3) People with a history of cancer in the family can be more susceptible. 

4) Treatments include surgery and chemotherapy but early diagnosis is the key. 

5) Anyone concerned is urged to contact their doctor

 

DUNE: PART TWO

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Timothee Chamalet, Zendaya, Austin Butler

Rating: 5/5

UAE finals day

Friday, April 13
Rugby Park, Dubai Sports City

3pm, UAE Conference: Dubai Tigers v Sharjah Wanderers
6.30pm, UAE Premiership: Dubai Exiles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins