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Despite the furore surrounding whether BSkyB is a ‘fit and proper’ holder of a broadcasting licence following the phone hacking scandal, News Corp COO Chase Carey has scotched suggestions that the company is considering selling its 39 per cent in the broadcaster.
“We have no expectation to sell the Sky stake at this time,” Carey said in an analyst briefing following the release of News’ Q3 results. “Our interest is in being a shareholder that helps the business [BSkyB] reach its potential,” he asserted.
Carey said that he “flatly” rejected that conclusion of the parliamentary committee investigating the hacking scandal that News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch was not a ‘fit and proper’ person to run a major international company, suggesting that that the media mogul had taken “big business risks” in the UK that had benefited consumers.
News Corp reported a better-than-expected 47 per cent jump in profits to $937 million in the first three months of the year. The company’s US TV networks, which include the Fox News channel, again proved the biggest driver of profits during the quarter.
News introduced a $5 billion share buyback plan in the summer of 2011, which was doubled to $10 billion Wednesday May 9. Shares climbed almost 5 per cent in extended trading in New York.
The company said that it had spent another $63 million on ongoing investigations following the closure of News of The World in the wake of the hacking scandal, bringing to $167 million the charges the company has taken in relation to the scandal in the nine months to the end of March.