May 2 - Satellite broadcaster BSkyB sought to distance itself from the controversy over phone hacking at its biggest shareholder on Wednesday after British lawmakers suggested the ties to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp might endanger its licence. Hayley Platt reports.
After a battering from UK MPs there was some good news from Britain for Rupert Murdoch. The satellite broadcaster BSkyB - whose biggest shareholder is Murdoch's News Corp - posted a record nine-month operating profit. It's net revenue for the period to March rose 5 percent to 5.1 billion pounds driven by strong broadband growth rather than new customers. The company is now looking to distance itself from the controversy over the phone hacking scandal surrounding Murdoch's UK newspaper group. BSkyB's boss Jeremy Darroch stressed his company was separate from News Corp. He also highlighted it's importance to the British economy - employing 19,000 people and contributing 1 billion pounds in tax every year. But the satellite broadcaster remains under investigation following the scandal. And Britain's media regulators are still deciding whether it's a 'fit and proper' company to own its license. Murdoch's already had to withdraw a bid to buy the 61 percent of the company he doesn't own and last month James Murdoch stepped down as it's Chairman. On Tuesday British MPs reviewing the hacking inquiry talked of a culture of "wilful blindness" at News International and News Corp. In response News Corp said some committee members were "unjustified and highly partisan." Despite the distractions analysts say BSkyB is powering ahead. It's shares rose more than two and half percent following their results Hayley Platt, Reuters.