Sky chairman Murdoch survives vote on re-election to board

Pay TV group makes good start to the year as first quarter revenues rise to £3.3bn

Sky chairman James Murdoch was re-elected with the narrow backing of independent shareholders, overcoming opposition from investor groups that had raised concerns about his role amid a takeover bid from the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox. Murdoch won 78 per cent support, Sky said Thursday in a statement after the company’s annual general meeting.

Those votes included the about 40 per cent of Sky owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox, where James is chief executive. The 44-year-old won about 51 percent of the independent shares cast at Thursday’s annual shareholder meeting, said a person familiar with the matter.

Sky said it made a strong start to its new year, with like-for-like revenue up 5 per cent and 160,000 new customers, up 51 per cent from the same period a year ago , led by shows like “Game of Thrones” and home-grown “Riviera.” Premier League soccer viewing is up as well, boding well for Sky’s investment in expensive sports rights.

The company reported like-for-like first-quarter revenue of £3.3 billion and core earnings of £582 million, up 11 per cent.