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BskyB to rebrand as Sky after takeover

MUMBAI: UK pay TV giant British Sky Broadcasting, or BskyB, is all set to rebrand and change its name to Sky after 25 years, following the completion of the acquisitions of Sky Italia and a majority stake in Sky Deutschland.

The name change is subject to shareholder approval at the company’s annual meeting on 21 November. However, the company states that the new name would ‘recognize the international scope of the business’.

The enlarged company, which is 39.1 per cent controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, will revert to the Sky name that Murdoch used when launching in the UK pay-TV market at the end of the 1980s.

BSkyB was formed in 1990 by the merger of Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Television with British Satellite Broadcasting.

As per reports, the completion of the buyout of Sky’s sister companies will see Murdoch achieve a long held ambition of creating a pan-European pay TV giant.

The enlarged group will serve 20 million customers across five countries including Italy, Germany, Austria, UK and Ireland. It will also be one of the largest employers in the sector with 31,000 staff across 30 main sites.

The company stated, “By bringing together the three businesses, Sky will share strengths and expertise from across the group to serve customers better, accelerate innovation and grow faster. The new Sky will be built on a shared ethos of always pushing forward to provide customers with more choice, better content and a superior TV experience.”

CEO Jeremy Darroch will oversee the enlarged group and also continue to lead the UK and Ireland business. BSkyB CFO Andrew Griffith will continue to oversee the financials of the merged group. The company also confirmed that Andrea Zappia would continue to lead Sky Italia as the CEO, while Brian Sullivan would remain CEO of Sky Deutschland.

Darroch said, “The three Sky businesses will be even better together. We have the opportunity to create a business that can lead and shape our industry in the future. Customers will benefit as we launch exciting new services, bring them even great TV and accelerate innovation across all of the markets in which we operate. The opportunity ahead is substantial, and we believe the new Sky will be good for customers, content creators and shareholders alike.”

Sky is “Europe’s leading investor in television content” with a combined programme budget of $7.3 billion and “Europe’s leading entertainment company.”