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Satellite TV News BSkyB Completes ?7bn German And Italian Deal

False Prophet

Busted P/S
Sep 21, 2014
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The owner of Sky News ditches the BSkyB name to become Sky as it completes its move into Europe.

The owner of Sky News has completed a takeover deal costing nearly ?7bn that makes the company a leader in five European pay-television markets.

Unveiling plans to change its name to Sky to reflect its new geographical diversity, BSkyB said its corporate transformation would mean it now had 20 million customers across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy and Austria.

Sky has taken full ownership of Sky Italia for ?2.45bn, comprised of ?2.07bn in cash and the transfer of its 21% stake in the National Geographic Channel to 21st Century Fox, Sky's largest shareholder.

The British-based home entertainment company has also acquired an 89.71% stake in Sky Deutschland, its sister operation in Germany, at a cost of ?4.44bn.

Announced in July, the deal increases Sky's potential customer base from 30 million households to more than 97 million.

The enlarged company will spend ?4.6bn on programming and employ 31,000 staff across Europe.

The group's name-change is subject to formal approval at next week's annual shareholder meeting.

BSkyB said in July that it wanted to acquire the German operation in order to exploit the relative under-penetration of pay-TV in the country, and added on Thursday that there were 60 million households across Sky's five markets which had yet to take any pay-TV service.

Jeremy Darroch, Sky's chief executive, said: "The three Sky businesses will be even better together. We have the opportunity to create a business that can lead and shape our industry in the future.

"Customers will benefit as we launch exciting new services, bring them even more great TV and accelerate innovation across all of the markets in which we operate.

"By joining together, we will share our strengths and expertise while retaining a strong identity in each country where we operate.

"The opportunity ahead is substantial and we believe the new Sky will be good for customers, content creators and shareholders alike."

The creation of Sky plc comes as competition intensifies in some of the company's key communications and entertainment markets, with BT challenging Sky's position as the dominant force in UK live sports broadcasting and Liberty Global, the owner of Vermin Media, expanding its presence across Europe.

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