Thursday, November 01 15:10:49
James Murdoch was re-elected to the board of BSkyB today, ensuring his family's media empire retains a direct influence at Britain's biggest pay-TV company despite being weakened by a phone hacking scandal.
James Murdoch, forced to quit as BSkyB chairman in April over his role in the scandal at his father Rupert's News Corp , was re-elected as a BSkyB director with around 95-percent support in a shareholder vote at an annual meeting.
The re-appointment came after BSkyB, which is 39-percent-owned by News Corp, posted strong first-quarter earnings growth, with price rises and the sale of additional products to subscribers reassuring investors who had feared a slowdown.
BSkyB shares were up 7 percent in afternoon trade. The stock had come under pressure from fears the provider of pay-TV, broadband and telephone services would struggle to grow in a weak economy and maturing market.
"Solidly reassuring, with all key metrics showing improvement over Q1 2012," said Peel Hunt analyst Patrick Yau of the results.
News Corp had planned to buy up the rest of BSkyB last year, but was forced to drop its bid after its British newspaper News of the World was discovered to have hacked phones.
James Murdoch, who also managed the newspaper, was criticised by parliament and regulators for failing to get to the bottom of the criminal activity, and BSkyB shareholders took turns at last year's annual meeting to tell him to step down as chairman to prevent the firm from being tarred by association. (C ) Reuters