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Sky CEO Says Business ‘On Track’ in ‘Challenging’ Conditions

European pay-TV leader posts 5% increase in revenue in first three quarters

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch said the business is in good shape and on track to hit its full-year targets, posting a 5% increase in overall revenue of £10.1 billion ($14.4 billion) for the nine months to end-March. EBITDA profit increased 10% year-on-year, taking the total to £1.7 billion, and ad revenues were up 9% across the group.

Sky extended its rights deal for Premier League soccer in the U.K. in the latest quarter and also signed bundling deals with Netflix and Spotify. Darroch said Netflix would launch on Sky in Britain later this year. Sky has 23 million customers across its European footprint.

With 21st Century Fox still attempting to close a deal to buy the chunk of Sky it does not own, and Comcast set to make a richer offer, Darroch told reporters that “no matter what happens to the company’s ownership over the next few months, we all feel that Sky is a business that is in a strong position today.”

Darroch said there had been some contact with Comcast. “We have been helping them in terms of their regulatory process, and they have been moving through that,” he said. He added that Comcast had yet to lodge a full offer, and “as and when they do that, if they do that, then we’ll come back and talk in more detail.”

“Who knows,” Darroch said when asked whether he would be running Sky a year from now. “I’m just very focused here. Obviously the business is in a period of some change, and I’m determined to manage that and keep it in as a good a shape as it can be, and who knows what will happen in the future.”

The Sky chief ruled himself out of the running for the top job at advertising giant WPP following the departure of its chief executive Martin Sorrell.

Analysts said Sky had performed well over the past three months. “Another good quarter of growth for Sky,” said CCS Insight’s Paolo Pescatore. “In particular the U.K., but some challenges in both Germany and Italy. Overall the company is very well placed.”

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