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BSkyB slurps Murdoch's Italian and German Sky assets to beef up European pay-TV biz

Pays Uncle Rupert £4.9bn for square-eyed deal

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BSkyB is pursing a bold pay-TV strategy in Europe with the unsurprising buyout today of 21st Century Fox's 100 per cent stake in Sky Italia and 57.4 per cent interest in Sky Deutschland.

It told the City this morning that it would pay £2.45bn to acquire Sky Italia from media mogul Rupert Murdoch's company, which has a 39 per cent stake in BSkyB.

Additionally, BSkyB agreed to pay £2.9bn in a takeover deal with Sky Deutschland. It is offering to scoop up the remaining 42.6 per cent stake in the outfit from minority shareholders with an offer of €6.75 a share.

But the London Stock Exchange reacted with indifference to the takeover plans, pushing BSkyB shares down 2.65 per cent to 900.45p on Friday morning.

The British broadcasting company separately reported its full year results to the City today.

Sales in BSkyB climbed 7 per cent to £7.6bn for the 12 months ended 30 June, while pre-tax profit was relatively flat at £1.18bn compared with £1.26bn a year ago.

The company splurged £819m in direct network costs, which mushroomed 15 per cent as it signed up more subscribers and "absorbed the acquired [broadband and fixed line] O2 customer base".

BSkyB's broadband business grew to 5.2 million customers in the firm's final quarter. ®

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