Sky Posts Strong Q3 Fiscal Results

British satellite TV operator Sky – coveted by 21st Century Fox, Disney and maybe Comcast – April 19 reported a 5% increase in third-quarter (ended March 31) revenue to £10.1 billion ($14.2 billion) from £9.6 billion during the previous-year period. Operating income increased 22% to £857 million from £702 million last year.

“It’s been a good quarter for Sky,” CEO Jeremy Darroch, said in a statement.

The pay-TV operator added 70,000 new video subscribers in the U.K. and Ireland, ending the period with 13 million. The service also inked new partnerships with Netflix and music streaming service Spotify for its Sky Q over-the-top video platform.

Sky has another 5.2 million and 4.8 million video subscribers in Germany/Austria and Italy, respectively.

“Against the back drop of a challenging consumer environment, this performance reflects the continual improvement in our broad set of products and services,” Darroch said.

The executive reiterated that Fox’s offer for outstanding ownership of Sky is currently being reviewed by the Competition and Markets Authority. The CMA is due to send its final report to the Secretary of State by May 1, who is expected to give his decision no later than June 13.

In assuage British regulators, Fox has suggested “ringfencing” Sky News from outside corporate (read Fox owner Rupert Murdoch) influence, and/or divesting Sky ownership to Disney.

Disney has a separate offer on the table for select Fox assets, including 20th Century Fox Studios and Sky. Murdoch is keeping Fox News and Fox Sports in the U.S., among other provisions.

In February, Comcast made public its interest in offering an offer for Sky that significantly exceeds Fox’s. The cable giant has yet to act on that.

“Since no firm offer has yet been made by Comcast or any other third party, Sky shareholders have been advised to take no action,” Darroch said.

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