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Ofcom defends advice on proposed Sky takeover by 21st Century Fox
12 October 2017, 08:19 | Kelvin Horton
Fox/Sky Deal: UK Authority To Examine Potential Influence On News, Politics
Shareholder advisory groups - including Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), Glass Lewis and Pirc - have called on investors to vote against his re-election at Sky's annual general meeting and also to rebel against what they claim are potentially "excessive" pay plans.
The pay package handed to Sky's chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, quadrupled to more than £16m in the year to the end of June, despite a hefty fall in annual profits at the broadcaster's United Kingdom and Ireland business.
However, this was an improvement on previous year, when more than 50% opposed Mr Murdoch's reappointment. That included support from largest shareholder Fox, which controls a voting stake of 37.19 percent in Sky.
The shareholder, Hugh Lawson, said: "I think the board lacks independence".
Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch, Fox CFO John Nallen and former Fox no. 2 Chase Carey were also among those board members re-elected on Thursday, each with more than 98.5 percent of the shareholder vote in their favor.
James Murdoch remains chairman of Sky despite a significant number of shareholders opposing his re-election.
Overall, Britain's Competitions and Markets Authority will assess the impact of the Murdoch family's proposed deal on both broadcasting standards and media plurality, the CMA said in a statement.
He refused, however, to answer questions from investors about whether Sky's reputation could be insulated from the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News, which led to the departure of its chair, Roger Ailes, who has since died, and its anchor, Bill O'Reilly.
With regards to broadcasting standards, it is seeking views on whether the merged company will have a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards objectives.
"Against the backdrop of pressure on consumer spending and lower spend on United Kingdom television advertising, we were particularly pleased with our own EBITDA growth of 15% in our Established Business".
Like-for-like revenues during the three months to the end of September were £3.3bn, up 5.5% on the same period a year ago, while EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) rose by 11% to £582m.
The group said Game Of Thrones was its "most-watched series ever", while it also hailed home-grown series Riviera after it notched up 20 million downloads.
"21st Century Fox (21CF) welcomes the publication by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the Issues Statement".
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