Belfast Telegraph

BSkyB profit surge increases pressure on Murdoch

Broadcaster BSkyB added to the pressure on News Corp's takeover plans today by revealing a 26% jump in profits during an "outstanding" half-year.

In a period when the satellite company broke through the 10 million customer mark, BSkyB said turnover rose 15% to £3.2 billion while operating profits hit £520 million for the six months to the end of December.

BSkyB rejected a 700p a share bid proposal from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp in the summer and today's strong results will add to pressure on the media giant to deliver a sharp hike in any future offer, should it gain regulatory approval.

This week, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was minded to refer News Corp's bid for the shares in BSkyB it does not already own to the Competition Commission but gave the group more time to deliver undertakings.

The number of Sky customer numbers increased by 140,000 in the final quarter of 2010 as it reported the fastest broadband growth for more than two years and a 68% increase in subscriptions to high definition television.

Belfast Telegraph

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