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Merger of Sky, NBCU Operations Begins Post-Comcast Takeover

Comcast’s takeover of Sky has resulted in its first round of reorganization plans, including the merger of some Sky and NBCUniversal International operations.

In an email to staff Friday, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch outlined the upcoming changes. The first will see NBCU’s U.K. pay-TV channels folded with Sky’s and based in one location, in Osterley, west London.

The second will be to regroup NBCUniversal’s Europe, Middle East and Africa Networks London-based team at the same location, a vast campus that Comcast pledged to keep while it pursued its $39-billion takeover of Sky.

In Germany, Sky will become the parent company of NBCUniversal’s Networks business. “We plan to explore ways for both businesses to work more closely together, including possible co-location at Unterfoehring,” said Darroch.

The other suggested change is to have Sky’s content sales and distribution activities, currently managed by Sky Vision, to be operated by NBCUniversal’s global distribution business.

Staff members at Sky Vision are bracing for layoffs. Sky Vision boss Jane Millichip is understood to be staying on in a production-focused role that will see her work with producers that Sky has invested in and with third parties.

“We recognize that these proposals could have an impact on some of our colleagues within Sky and NBCU and, as always, they will be fully supported through these changes,” said Darroch.

Sky’s sales arm has a much smaller turnover than that of its NBCU equivalent, which sells content from its U.S. unscripted production arm and the broadcast network.

Sales staff were walked through the changes Friday morning. Several are headed for MipTV in Cannes and are thought to still be attending the market there. One Sky insider characterized the changes as NBCU taking over management of sales and Sky taking over management of the channels business of the enlarged Comcast group.

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