Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/03/bskyb_q3_results_fit_and_proper/

BSkyB boss: 'I don't work for Rupert Murdoch, remember'

He's just some guy

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Broadband, 3rd May 2012 07:38 GMT

The boss of BSkyB isn't Rupert Murdoch despite what many might think. Today the UK broadcaster and telco reminded the world of that fact as it attempted to distance itself from the 81-year-old media mogul, who has been labelled by MPs as being "not fit" to run a multinational outfit.

BSkyB - much as in the case of Virgin Media and Richard Branson - has long been associated with Murdoch, whose News Corp empire owns 39 per cent of the British firm.

Last year, Murdoch was forced to back out of bidding for the 61 per cent chunk of BSkyB he didn't already own, following intense political pressure as the explosive phone hacking revelations at his UK newspaper publishing company News International were sparked in July 2011.

Jeremy Darroch - the actual boss of BSkyB - reportedly reminded hacks yesterday about the distinction between his firm and Murdoch's corporation.

"I would emphasise that it's important to remember that Sky and News Corporation are separate companies," he said.

"We believe that Sky's track record as a broadcaster is the most important factor in determining our fitness to hold a licence."

His comments come as UK watchdog Ofcom continues to scrutinise whether BSkyB, which trades as Sky, is "fit and proper" to hold a broadcasting licence.

Despite the regulatory probing and political heat excreting out of Murdoch's pores, BSkyB broke through the £5bn revenue barrier in the first nine months of the company's fiscal year. That's a 5 per cent increase over the same period a year earlier when it recorded sales of £4.8bn.

The company, which has more than 10 million subscribers in the UK, also claimed its "strongest ever quarter for home communications with 702,000 net broadband, telephony and line rental product additions."

Annual revenue per user (ARPU) hit £546 in the quarter ended 31 March compared with £537 in the same period a year ago. ARPU is an important metric for telcos, who are increasingly looking at upping sales within existing customerbases rather than simply pursuing more punters with its products.

Earnings per share climbed 24 per cent to 37.8p and adjusted operating profit was up 15 per cent to £908m during the nine-month period to the end of March 2012.

In April, Murdoch's son, James Murdoch, quit his chairmanship of BSkyB having walked away from his father's Wapping newspaper business earlier this year. ®