James Murdoch survives close call with shareholders

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A majority of independent votes cast at the annual shareholders' meeting of Sky on Thursday supported the re-election of James Murdoch as chairman, a spokesman for the European pay TV group said.

Murdoch got 78.0 percent of the shareholder vote in his support, up from 71.6 percent past year.

The motion to reappoint Mr Murdoch, a former chief executive of Sky, was passed with 78% of votes.

Nearly 22 percent of all shareholders opposed Mr Murdoch and 48.5 percent of independent shareholders.

During the meeting, one investor questioned both the terms of the deal and Mr Murdoch's position as chairman of Sky, given his role as 21st Century Fox's chief executive.

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. He had previously been CEO of Sky's United Kingdom -only predecessor BSkyB between 2003 and 2007 and then chairman until April 2012 before becoming a non-executive director on the board.

James Murdoch remains chairman of Sky despite a significant number of shareholders opposing his re-election.

Fox, which now owns 39.1% of Sky, is trying to buy full control of the business in a deal that would value the parent of Sky News at £18.5bn.

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Culture Secretary Karen Bradley chose to disregard Ofcom's judgement that the deal should only be referred to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over concerns about its impact on media plurality, additionally opting to refer the bid on the grounds of commitment to broadcasting standards.

Gilbert's comment was a reference to allegations of sexual and racial harassment at Fox News.

Sky shares - 7% down in the year to date - were 0.5% up in early trading following the release of the results statement.

"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".

The FTSE 100 giant reported like-for-like revenue up 5pc in the three months to September 30, at £3.3bn.

He said the first series of Sky's home-grown drama Riviera achieved 20 million downloads, while Game of Thrones had become the most watched series ever on Sky.

The group added 160,000 new customers in the quarter, a 51 per cent jump, and recorded 9.6m pay-as-you-go sports and entertainment buys, an increase of 12 per cent. The company launched new streaming services in Spain and Switzerland in the quarter.

"21st Century Fox (21CF) welcomes the publication by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) of the Issues Statement".

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