July 26 - BSkyB releases strong fourth quarter results, and announces a £500m share buyback. Newscorp has long wanted full control of the pay-TV provider, but looks unlikely to launch a bid anytime soon as the phone hacking inquiry continues. Kirsty Basset reports.
Strong full year results for pay-TV provider BSkyB. Adjusted operating profits were up 9 percent to £1.3 billion. And it's announced a new 500 million pound share buyback programme and 18 percent dividend hike. But TJ Markets' Manoj Ladwa says this might be as good as it gets for the company. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) SENIOR TRADER, TJ MARKETS, MANOJ LADWA SAYING: "I think the dynamic for BSkyB has been changing quite considerably over the last few years or so. This is a company which has only managed to gain 51,000 new customers in the fourth quarter of this year as opposed to 72,000 which was forecasted. With the share buyback and the increased dividend this is a company which seems to be going from growth to income and a more utility type play." BSkyB has dominated pay-TV in Britain since Rupert Murdoch launched it in 1989. Newscorp has long wanted to take full control of the pay TV group, but was forced to pull a $14 billion bid for the remaining 61 percent stake in the wake of the phone hacking scandal. And it looks unlikely to be launching a fresh bid anytime soon, according to media consultant Claire Enders. (SOUNDBITE)(English) MEDIA CONSULTANT CLAIRE ENDERS SAYING: "I would have thought it was very unlikely that BSkyB would entertain an approach until such time as Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch, should they continue to be officers of 21st Century Fox, that they are completely exonerated from involvement in culpability in these alleged crimes." Rupert Murdoch appeared before the parliamentary committee into phone hacking two years ago. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RUPERT MURDOCH, SAYING: "I would just like to say, this is the most humble day of my life." And he's set to face the committee again - to explain comments that British tabloid papers have for years paid bribes to police for information. He wrote to MPs to clarify the comments, insisting he was frustrated by the drawn-out inquiry into phone hacking, describing it as excessive. Professor and Head of Journalism at City University London, George Brock, says Murdoch was probably trying to tell his staff what they wanted to hear. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGE BROCK, PROFESSOR AND HEAD OF JOURNALISM, CITY UNIVERSITY LONDON, SAYING: "He's faced with an angry newsroom full of people who think the company have been cooperating more enthusiastically than they should be with the investigations against the journalists. And it isn't very surprising that he was trying to make noises that he thought they would find sympathetic." A date hasn't yet been set for his next appearance before the committee.