|Traded as||LSE: SKY|
British Satellite Broadcasting
|Founded||2 November 1990|
|Headquarters||Osterley, London UK Swords, Dublin Irl, United Kingdom|
Jeremy Darroch (CEO)
|Products||Direct-broadcast satellite, Pay television, broadcasting, broadband and telephony services,|
|Revenue||£9.989 billion (2015)|
|£1.516 billion (2015)|
|£1.952 billion (2015)|
|Owner||21st Century Fox (39.14%)|
Number of employees
Now TV (UK)
Sky plc is a British satellite broadcasting, on-demand internet streaming media, broadband and telephone services company with headquarters in London. It has operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Sky is Europe's biggest and leading media company and largest pay-TV broadcaster, with 21 million subscribers and 30,000 employees as of 2015.
Initially formed in 1990 by the equal merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting, BSkyB became the UK's largest digital subscription television company. In 2014, after completing the acquisition of Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, the merged company changed its name to Sky plc. Sky is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It had a market capitalisation of approximately £18.75 billion (€26.76 billion) as of 2015. Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39.14 per cent controlling stake in the company.
British Sky Broadcasting was formed by the merger of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting on 2 November 1990. Both companies had begun to struggle financially and were both suffering financial losses as both competed against each other for viewers. The Guardian later characterized the merger as 'effectively a takeover by News Corporation'.
The merger was investigated by Office of Fair Trading and was cleared a month later since many of the represented views were more concerned about contractual arrangements which had nothing to do with competition. The Independent Broadcasting Authority was not consulted about the deal; after approval, the IBA demanded precise details about the merger, stated they were considering the repercussions of the deal to ultimately determine whether BSB contracts were null and void. On 17 November, the IBA decided to terminate BSB's contract, but not immediately, as it was deemed unfair to 120,000 viewers who had bought BSB devices.
Sam Chisholm was appointed CEO in a bid to reorganize the new company, which, continued to make losses of £10 million per week. The defunct BSB's HQ, Marco Polo House were sold off, 39% of the new company's employees were made redundant to leave just under 1000 employees, many of the new senior BSkyB executive roles were given to Sky personnel with many BSB leaving the company. In April the nine Sky/BSB channels had been condensed into five, with EuroSport being dropped soon after the Sky Sports launch. Chisholm also renegotiated the merged company's expensive deals with the Hollywood studios, slashing the minimum guaranteed payments. The defunct Marcopolo I satellite was sold off in December 1993 to Sweden's NSAB, and Marcopolo II went to Norway's Telenor in July 1992 after the ITC was unable to find new companies to take over the BSB licences and compete with BSkyB. News International received 50%, Pearson PLC 17.5%, Chargeurs 17.5%, Granada 12%, Reed International 2% of the new shares in the company.
By September 1991, the weekly losses had been reduced to £1.5M a week, Rupert Murdoch said "there were strong financial marketing and political reason[s] for making the compromise merger instead of letting BSB die. Many of the lessons had been learnt with more than half the running cost of the combined company". Further cuts in losses were a direct result of 313,000 new customers joining during the first half of 1991. By March 1992, BSkyB posted its first operating profits, of £100,000 per week, with £3.8 million weekly from subscriptions and £1 million from advertising, but continued to be burdened with £1.28 billion of debt. James Capel forecast BSkyB would still be indebted in 2000.
In the autumn of 1991, talks were held for the broadcast rights for Premier League for a five-year period, from the 1992 season. ITV were the current rights holders, and fought hard to retain the new rights. ITV had increased its offer from £18m to £34m per year to keep control of the rights. BSkyB joined forces with the BBC to make a counter bid. The BBC was given the highlights of most of the matches, while BSkyB paying £304m for the Premier League rights, would give them a monopoly of all live matches, up to 60 per year from the 1992 season. Murdoch has described sport as a "battering ram" for pay-television, providing a strong customer base. A few weeks after the deal, ITV went to the High court to get an injunction as it believed their details were leaked before the decision was taken. ITV also asked the Office of Fair Trading to also investigate since it believed Rupert Murdoch's media empire via the newspapers had influence the deal. A few days later neither action took effect, ITV believed BSkyB was telephoned and informed of its £262m bid, and Premier League advised BSkyB to increase its counter bid.
Following a lengthy legal battle with the European Commission, which deemed the exclusivity of the rights to be against the interests of competition and the consumer, BSkyB's monopoly came to an end from the 2007–08 season. In May 2006, the Irish broadcaster Setanta Sports was awarded two of the six Premiership packages that the English FA offered to broadcasters. Sky picked up the remaining four for £1.3bn.
In October 1994, BSkyB announced its plans to float the company on the UK and US stock exchanges, selling off 20% of the company. The stock flotation reduced Murdoch's holding to 40 percent and raised £900m, which allowed the company to cut its debt in half. Sam Chisholm said "By any standards this is an excellent result, in every area of the company has performed strongly". Chisholm, became one of the world's most highly paid television executives.
In 1995, BSkyB opened its second customer management centre at Dunfermline, Scotland, in addition to its original centre at Livingston which opened in 1989. BSkyB entered the FTSE 100 index, operation profits increased to £155M a year, and Pearson sold off its 17.5% stake in the company.
Sam Chisholm resigned from BSkyB due to a rift with Rupert Murdoch. A week later, Murdoch was quoted as saying "I cannot understand the fuss; BSkyB was grossly overpriced", which caused further rifts with the new management.
Launch of Sky Digital
In 1997, BSkyB formed a partnership with Carlton and Granada to bid for the right for the new digital terrestrial network. In June, it was awarded the right to start the service, ONdigital under the condition BSkyB withdrew from the group's bid. A few days afterwards BSkyB left the consortium, and work fully concentrated on its digital satellite network.
In February 2003 BSkyB wished to renegotiate its deal with MTV to reduce its payment from £20m. Chief executive Tony Ball said "We're definitely prepared to stare them down if we can't get a sensible deal, MTV, and other channels, have done particularly well out of the growth of Sky but the opportunity for savings is now there and Sky will be taking it," he added. "MTV has done extremely well out of that original deal." On 17 April 2003 BSkyB launched its own range of music channels Scuzz and Flaunt with The Vault being added in Summer 2003, as part of its plan to create its own original channels for the platform. Within 18 months the channels failed to make impact, and were outsourced to the Chart Show Channels company.
Shortly afterwards it acquired art world, giving a majority of subscribers full access to the channel. The buyout was part of James Murdoch's strategy to improve the perceptions BSkyB which could lead to potential new subscribers. John Cassy, the channel manager of Artsworld, said: "It is great news for the arts that a dedicated cultural channel will be available to millions of households."
In July 2007, BSkyB announced the takeover of Amstrad for £125m, a 23.7% premium on its market capitalisation. BSkyB had been a major Amstrad client, accounting for 75% of sales for its 'set top box' business. Having supplied BSkyB with hardware since its inception in 1988, market analysts had noted the two companies becoming increasingly close in recent years.
Virgin Media Television acquisition
On 4 June 2010, BSkyB and Virgin Media announced that they had reached agreement for the acquisition by BSkyB of Virgin Media Television.
Virgin1 was also a part of the deal and was rebranded as Channel One on 3 September 2010, as the Virgin name was not licensed to Sky. The new carriage deals are understood to be for up to nine years.
On 29 June 2010, The Competition Authority in Ireland cleared the proposed transaction.
On 20 July 2010, The Office of Fair Trading announced that they would review BSkyB's acquisition of the Virgin Media Television business to judge whether it posed any competition concerns in the UK. The OFT planned to investigate the deal to see whether it could constitute a qualifying merger under the Enterprise Act 2002. The watchdog invited interested parties from the industry to comment on the sale, including its potential impact on the pay-TV market. On 14 September 2010, the OFT decided not to refer BSkyB's takeover of Virgin Media's TV channels to the Competition Commission.
Attempted takeover by News Corporation
In June 2010, News Corporation made a bid for complete ownership of BSkyB. However, following the News International phone hacking scandal, critics and politicians began to question the appropriateness of the proposed takeover. The resulting reaction forced News Corp. to withdraw its bid for the company in July 2011. The scandal forced the resignation of James Murdoch, who was the chairman of both BSkyB and News International, from his executive positions in the UK, with Nicholas Ferguson taking over as Chairman of BSkyB.
In September 2012, United Kingdom broadcasting regulator Ofcom ruled that BSkyB could stay on air — and it criticised former chairman Murdoch's handling of the News International phone hacking scandal. ‘As a company, we are committed to high standards of governance and we take our regulatory obligations extremely seriously,’ BSkyB replied in a media release.
Following News Corporation's split into two on 28 June 2013 to create two separate companies, 21st Century Fox (the re-branded News Corporation), and the spin-off company New News Corp, the 39.14% stake held by News Corporation in BSkyB was retained by the re-branded 21st Century Fox.
On 12 May 2014, BSkyB confirmed that it was in talks with its largest shareholder, 21st Century Fox, about acquiring 21st Century Fox's 57.4% stake in Sky Deutschland and its 100% stake in Sky Italia. The enlarged company (dubbed "Sky Europe" in the media) will consolidate 21st Century Fox's European digital TV assets into one company. The £4.9 billion takeover deal was formally announced on 25 July, where BSkyB would acquire 21st Century Fox's stakes in Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. BSkyB also made a required takeover offer to Sky Deutschland's minority shareholders, resulting in BSkyB acquiring 89.71% of Sky Deutschland's share capital. The acquisitions were completed on 13 November. British Sky Broadcasting Group plc changed its name to Sky plc to reflect the European acquisitions, and the United Kingdom operations were renamed to Sky UK Limited. Sky plc bought out the remaining minority shareholders in Sky Deutschland during 2015, using a squeeze-out procedure to obtain the remaining shares and delist Sky Deutschland on 15 September 2015.
The first CEO of BSkyB was Sam Chisholm, who was CEO of Sky TV before the merger. Chisholm served in this position until 1997. He was followed by Mark Booth who was credited with leading the company through the introduction of Sky. Tony Ball was appointed in 1999 and completed the company's analogue to digital conversion. He is also credited with returning the company to profit and bringing subscriber numbers to new heights. In 2003, Ball announced his resignation and James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch was announced as his successor. This appointment caused allegations of nepotism from shareholders.
On 7 December 2007, it was announced that Rupert Murdoch would be stepping down as BSkyB's non-executive chairman and would be replaced by his son, James. In turn, James stepped down as CEO of BSkyB, to be replaced by Jeremy Darroch.
The current 13 company directors include James Murdoch (Chairman), Nicholas Ferguson (Chief Executive), David Darroch (Chief Executive Officer), Andrew Griffith (Chief Executive Officer), Martin Gilbert (Chief Executive Officer), Matthieu Pigasse (Managing Director), Tracy Clarke (Bank Executive), David Lewis (Chief Executive Officer), Andrew Sukawaty (Manager), Adine Axen (Director), John Nallen (Company Director) and Charles Carey (Chief Executive Officer and President).
|Year ended||Revenue (£m)||Profit/(loss)
before tax (£m)
|30 June 2016||11,965||752||663|
|30 June 2015||9,989||1,516||1,952|
|30 June 2014||7,632||1,082||865|
|30 June 2013||7,235||1,257||979|
|30 June 2012||6,791||1,189||906|
|30 June 2011||6,597||1,014||810|
|30 June 2010||5,709||1,173||878|
|30 June 2009||5,359||456||259|
|30 June 2008||4,952||60||(127)|
|30 June 2007||4,551||815||499|
|30 June 2006||4,148||798||551|
|30 June 2005||4,048||631||425|
|30 June 2004||3,656||480||322|
|30 June 2003||3,186||128||190|
|30 June 2002||2,776||(1,276)||(1,383)|
|30 June 2001||2,306||(515)||(539)|
|30 June 2000||1,847||(263)||(272)|
|30 June 1999||1,545||(389)||(285)|
|30 June 1998||1,434||271||249|
|30 June 1997||1,270||314||288|
|30 June 1996||1,008||257||–|
|30 June 1995||778||155||–|
|30 June 1994||550||93||–|
|30 June 1993||380||(76)||–|
|30 June 1992||233||(188)||–|
|30 June 1991||93||(759)||–|
| Sky UK Ltd |
The original Sky Television plc, now a holding company for Sky plc's United Kingdom operations.
| Sky Subscriber Services Ltd|
Operating company for the Sky pay-television service.
| Sky In-Home Services Ltd|
Home installations of satellite dishes and set-top boxes.
| Sky Broadband Ltd and Sky Home Communications Ltd|
Operating companies for Sky's broadband and telephony services, including Be Un Limited which was acquired from Telefónica UK/O2.
| Sports Internet Group Ltd|
Sports content and online betting services.
| British Interactive Broadcasting Holdings Ltd |
Interactive television services, formerly an alliance of BSkyB, BT Group, HSBC and Matsushita/Panasonic.
| Aura Sports Ltd|
Media Sales Agency, sells advertising on the majority of premiership football club websites, as well as other major sports.
| Aura Play Ltd|
Another Media Sales Agency, sells advertising across a number of websites in the music and entertainment sector.
| Sky Ireland|
Operating company for Sky pay-television service in Ireland.
| Sky Italia Srl|
Operating company for Sky pay-television service in Italy.
| Sky Deutschland AG|
Operating company for Sky pay-television service in Germany and Austria.
A video on demand movie rental service.
British electronics company acquired by BSkyB.
| The Cloud|
Wi-Fi provider acquired by BSkyB.
|A&E Networks UK (50%) – with A&E Networks. Operates History, Lifetime and CI channels.|
|Arena Racing Company (48.5%) Operates At the Races|
|Australian News Channel Pty Limited (33.3%) – with Seven Network and Nine Entertainment Co. Operates Sky News Australia|
|Ginx TV Ltd gaming channel in uk whith (ITV plc)|
|Nickelodeon UK Ltd (40%) – with Viacom International Media Networks Europe, part of Viacom. Operates Nickelodeon and associated channels|
|Love Productions (70%)|
|Comedy Central (UK and Ireland) (25%) – with Paramount British Pictures, part of Viacom/National Amusements|
|DTV Services Ltd (20%) – with Arqiva, BBC, Channel 4 and ITV plc. Manages and markets the Freeview brand.|
Stake in ITV
ITV plc has been the subject of a flurry of rumoured take-over and merger bids since it was formed. For example, on 9 November 2006, NTL announced that it had approached ITV plc about a proposed merger. The merger was effectively blocked by BSkyB on 17 November 2006 when it controversially bought a 17.9% stake in ITV plc for £940 million, a move that attracted anger from NTL shareholder Richard Branson and an investigation from media and telecoms regulator Ofcom. On 6 December 2006, NTL announced that it had complained to the Office of Fair Trading about BSkyB's move. NTL stated that it had withdrawn its attempt to buy ITV plc, citing that it did not believe that there was any possibility to make a deal on favourable terms. On 17 July 2014, BSkyB's 6.4% stake in ITV was sold to Liberty Global, valued at £481 million.
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- Mark Sweney. "BSkyB poised to seal 'Sky Europe' deal". the Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
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- Sky and BSB in merger deal. The Times, Saturday, 3 November 1990
- Sky TV's launch: 'a wing and a prayer' , media editor Maggie Brown, Guardian Organgrinder blog, 5 February 2009 Retrieved 24 December 2012.
- Fair trading office to study merger of Sky and BSB. Melinda Wittstock, Media Correspondent. The Times, Tuesday, 6 November 1990
- Merger of BSB and Sky cleared. Melinda Wittstock, Media Correspondent. The Times, Wednesday, 19 December 1990
- IBA to rule this week on satellite merger. Melinda Wittstock, Media Correspondent. The Times, Monday, 5 November 1990
- Bsb broke contract in merger with Sky, MPs told. Peter Mulligan Parliamentary Reporter. The Times, Tuesday, 13 November 1990
- IBA to pull the plug on BSB contract. Georgina Henry Media Editor. The Guardian; 17 November 1990
- Shops to withdraw squarials as three BSB 0ieciitiyes go. Melinda Wittstock, Media Correspondent. The Times, Thursday, 8 November 1990;
- Eurosport to close down over weekend. The Times, Saturday, 4 May 1991
- Canal Digital. "The Canal Digital Story". canaldigital.com. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- Fall for Granada. The Times, Wednesday, 12 December 1990
- Sky TV 'in sight of breaking even'. Graham Searjeant, Financial Editor. The Times, Thursday, 19 September 1991
- BSkyB achieves operating profit ahead of forecasts. Melinda Wittstock, Media Correspondent. The Times, Tuesday, 10 March 1992
- ITV's monopoly threatened by Premier League. Peter Ball. The Times, Tuesday, 1 October 1991
- Premier League unity is tested by offer of £34m. Peter Ball. The Times, Saturday, 18 April 1992
- BSkyB and BBC bid offers huge rewards. Peter Ball.The Times, Monday 18 May 1992
- Premier League kicks off with £304m TV deal. Peter Ball. The Times, Tuesday, 19 May 1992
- Douglas, Torin (12 March 1999). "Murdoch's rise to the top". BBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2007.
- ITV challenges football deal in High Court. Lin Jenkins. The Times, Saturday, 23 May 1992;
- ITV fails to halt football deal. Lin Jenkins. The Times, Wednesday, 27 May 1992
- 'Time to play hardball' by David Teather and Vivek Chaudhary investigate Monday 8 May 2000
- George Trefgarne, Financial Correspondent (15 June 2000). "BSkyB leaps on soccer result". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 21 March 2015.
- "Setanta joins Premiership action". BBC News. 5 May 2006. Retrieved 5 March 2007.
- BSkyB seeks to go into orbit with £5bn flotation. Buckingham, Lisa. The Guardian; 7 October 1994;
- BSkyB's float has £50m price tag. Buckingham, Lisa, The Guardian; 26 November 1994
- £5m a week operating profits at BSkyB. Martin Waller, Deputy City Editor. The Times, Wednesday, 8 February 1995
- BSkyB trio share £3.8m bonuses. Cowe, Roger The Guardian; 15 November 1994
- New BSkyB centre to give Fife 1,000 jobs. Gillian Bowditch, Scotland Correspondent. The Times, Thursday, 6 October 1994;
- BSkyB soars to £155m as Pearson seeks stake sale. Alexandra Frean, Media Correspondent. The Times, Friday, 18 August 1995
- Murdoch row led BSkyB chief to quit. Emily Bell, Media Business Editor. The Observer (1901-2003); 22 June 1997
- Murdoch row splits BSkyB. Brown, Maggie. The Guardian; 7 July 1997
- ITV big two lead digital revolution. Eric Reguly and Carol Midgley. The Times, Wednesday, 25 June 1997
- "Sky and MTV in cash row". 14 February 2003.
- Is channel growth music to the ears? | Archive. Marketing Week (20 March 2003). Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
- BSkyB hands running of music channels to chart channels | Archive. Marketing Week (16 September 2004). Retrieved on 2013-12-09.
- Gibson, Owen (20 June 2005). "Sky Arts,Media,Television industry (Media),UK news". The Guardian. London.
- "Freeview 'overtakes Sky Digital'". BBC News. 19 April 2007.
- "BSkyB agrees £125m Amstrad deal". BBC News. 31 July 2007. Archived from the original on 6 August 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2007.
- "BskyB and Virgin Media Reach Agreements on Sale of VMtv and Channel Distribution". BSkyB. 4 June 2010. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "BskyB and Virgin Media Reach Agreements on Sale of VMtv and Channel Distribution". Virgin Media. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "Virgin secures new Sky carriage deal after VMtv sale". Broadband TV News. 4 June 2010.
- Sweney, Mark (5 August 2010). "BSkyB rebrands Virgin1 as Channel One". The Guardian. UK.
- Deans, Jason (4 June 2010). "BSkyB buys Virgin Media TV channels for £160m". The Guardian. UK.
- "Competition Authority clears the acquisition by British Sky Broadcasting Limited of Virgin Media Television" (PDF). The Competition Authority. 29 June 2010.
- "OFT to review Sky's VMtv deal". Digital Spy. 20 July 2010.
- "OFT okays Sky's Virgin Media TV deal". C21Media. 14 September 2010.
- "News Corp withdraws bid for BSkyB". BBC. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
- Chandrasekhar, Indu; Wardrop, Murray; Trotman, Andy (13 July 2011). "News of the World phone hacking scandal: timeline". London: Telegraph. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- "James Murdoch resigns as BSkyB chairman". BBC News. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Sky ruled fit for broadcast licence, but James Murdoch comes in for criticism, Lisa O'Carroll and Lizzy Davies, Guardian, 20 September 2012.Retrieved: 24 December 2012.
- , Sky response to Ofcom statement , Sky press release, 20 September 2012.Retrieved: 24 December 2012.
- Statement on potential acquisition, BSkyB 12 May 2014. Retrieved: 19 June 2014.
- Williams, Christopher (12 May 2014). "'Sky Europe': what is behind BSkyB's effort to buy Murdoch's European pay-TV businesses?". Telegraph.co.uk. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "BSkyB to pay $9 billion to create Sky Europe". Reuters. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2014.
- Gallivan, Rory (15 September 2015). "Sky completes full acquisition of Sky Deutschland". Marketwatch. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Bell, Emily (5 November 2003). "Rupert and the joys of nepotism". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 6 March 2007.
- "BSkyB – Investor Relations – Press Release". Phx.corporate-ir.net. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Sky PLC | DueDil". www.duedil.com. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "Sky acquires Acetrax as it prepares for NOW TV launch". Digital Spy. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "BSkyB reels in Wi-Fi network operator The Cloud". The Register. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- "Group investments" (PDF). Annual Report 2009. British Sky Broadcasting. 2010. p. 109. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
- "Sky enters strategic partnership with zeebox". BSkyB. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Sky acquires majority stake in Love Productions". BSkyB. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "About us". Freeview. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
Freeview is managed by DTV Services Ltd, a company owned and run by its five shareholders — BBC, BSkyB, Channel 4, ITV and Arqiva.
- "Ntl Incorporated Discussions with ITV plc" (Press release). NTL. 9 November 2006. Archived from the original on 13 November 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2006.
- "ITV and NTL 'in merger talks'" (Press release). ITV plc. 9 November 2006. Archived from the original on 30 November 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2006.
- Welsh, James (17 November 2006). "Sky buys 17.9% of ITV". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 December 2006.
- Wilkes, Neil (20 November 2006). "Sky/ITV: Branson statement in full". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 December 2006.
- Welsh, James (21 November 2006). "Ofcom examines impact of Sky's ITV stake". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 27 November 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2006.
- Oatts, Joanne (6 December 2006). "NTL complains about Sky as it drops plans for ITV Ofcom". Digital Spy. Retrieved 6 December 2006.
- Clover, Julian (17 July 2014). "Liberty Global makes £481m investment in ITV". Broadband TV News. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- Sky plc official website
- Sky (United Kingdom)
- Sky Ireland
- Sky Deutschland
- Sky Austria
- Sky Italia
- The Cloud
- Sky plc companies grouped at OpenCorporates
- List of Channels on Sky (UK & Ireland) (TV Channel Lists)