Sky Earnings Fall on Weaker Advertising Market, Soccer TV Costs

By Tapan PanchalFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

British TV giant Sky PLC (SKY.LN) Thursday said additional costs relating to Premier League soccer and a weaker U.K. advertising market led to a 11% ?drop in adjusted operating profit for first nine months of fiscal 2017.

The company, which is in the midst of being acquired by U.S. media company 21st Century Fox (FOXA), recorded adjusted operating profit of 1.01 billion pounds ($1.29 billion) for the nine months to March 31, down from GBP1.14 billion in the same period a year earlier. On a statutory basis, operating profit dropped to GBP703 million from GBP802 million.

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Revenue climbed to GBP9.64 billion from GBP9.15 billion, as core subscription revenue grew by 4% to GBP8.13 billion.

"We enter the final quarter of our fiscal year in good shape. Despite the broader consumer environment remaining uncertain, we continue to deliver on our strategy and are on track for the full year," said Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch.

In December 2016, Fox offered GBP11.7 billion?,? or GBP10.75 per Sky share, in cash for the 61% of Sky it doesn't already own. This month, Fox cleared the first of several regulatory hurdles for the deal, winning approval from European Union antitrust authorities.

The U.K. government in March referred the deal to country's media watchdog to determine whether it would satisfy broadly framed public-interest tests. The Office of Communications is reviewing whether Fox's full ownership of Sky will maintain "plurality"--or diversity of viewpoints--across the British media. Fox has said it would.

Rupert Murdoch and his family are major shareholders in both Fox and News Corp. News Corp owns a number of U.K. newspapers, including the Sun, Britain's best-selling tabloid, the Times of London and the Sunday Times. News Corp also owns The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 20, 2017 02:43 ET (06:43 GMT)