Sky profits soar amid Comcast-Fox bidding war

Game Of Thrones starring Emilia Clarke

Game Of Thrones starring Emilia Clarke

"Whilst understandably the external focus has been on the bids for Sky, I can tell you that our teams are highly focused and motivated and I think excited about the opportunities ahead no matter what our ownership structure is".

Its results come as the takeover tussle for Sky rages on, which could see it come under the full ownership of Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox or United States cable giant Comcast, which have both put forward multibillion-pound offers.

The FTSE 100 pay-TV group reported underlying earnings (EBITDA) for the full-year of £2.1bn, up from £1.9bn the year before, while like-for-like revenues climbed for the 29th consecutive year to £13.5bn from £12.9bn in 2017.

Revenue rose 2.1% to $21.735 billion but came in shy of the $21.857 billion expected by analysts.

"We have a unique and special company with a terrific team and great operating momentum", said Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, saying he felt the need to "reiterate something that perhaps has been lost" by the Street in recent months. Comcast has the higher offer for the operator, in which Fox already owns a 39% stake. They were up marginally at 1,508 pence at 0840 GMT.

Pay TV giant Sky has reported a 7% rebound in annual earnings and cheered its global appeal as it remains at the centre of a takeover battle between suitors 21st Century Fox and Comcast.

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch
Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch

"These numbers and a bullish plan for further aggressive growth in the current financial year are clearly presented to squeeze the maximum from potential buyers", he said.

Fox - and by proxy Disney - has until August 9 to increase its bid for Sky, a move which could cause British regulators to trigger an auction procedure.

Shares of Comcast were up 3.7 percent to $34.66 in morning trading after the results.

Darroch, in the top job since 2007, said it was too early to say whether he would stay with the pan-European group after it is sold.

UBS said Sky had put in place the building blocks for future growth.

Sky added 20,000 customers in Britain in its final quarter, which UBS said was below its forecast, but churn, a measure of the number of people leaving, fell to a decade low of 10.3 percent.

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