BSkyB, Britain’s dominant pay-TV group, has posted a record nine-month operating profit, boosted by strong growth of its broadband service.
That shows there has been little commercial damage from the problems of its biggest shareholder – Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.
The UK’s media regulator is looking at whether BSkyB should hold a broadcasting licence following the hacking scandal elsewhere in Murdoch’s media empire.
BSkyB sought to distance itself from the controversy as Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch used the publication of the results to stress the company’s importance to Britain’s economy.
“I would emphasise that it’s important to remember that Sky and News Corporation are separate companies,” he told reporters.
“We believe that Sky’s track record as a broadcaster is the most important factor in determining our fitness to hold a licence.”
A parliamentary report has just dropped a heavy hint to regulator Ofcom, which has stepped up its investigation into whether BSkyB is a ‘fit and proper’ owner of a licence, by saying Murdoch was “not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company”.
Public outrage at the hacking of people’s mobile phones – including that of a teenage murder victim – at the News of the World tabloid forced the media tycoon to pull his bid to buy the 61 percent of Sky it did not already own.
BSkyB posted a five percent rise in nine-month revenue to 5.1 billion pounds (6.3 billion euros), with earnings per share up 24 percent and adjusted operating profit up 15 percent in the period, during which Britain re-entered recession.