UK media and telecoms correspondent
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Jul 18, 2014

BSkyB prepares to roll the dice again with European expansion

LONDON/MILAN/FRANKFURT, July 18 (Reuters) – BSkyB’s
plan to buy Rupert Murdoch’s pay-TV assets in Italy and Germany
for perhaps as much as 10 billion euros is a bold bet on
long-term growth at the expense of short-term profit, but the
pioneering British media firm has pulled off such gambles

Facing the toughest market conditions in its 25-year
history, BSkyB has opened talks with Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox
to acquire Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia to
create a European powerhouse with 20 million subscribers.

Jul 17, 2014

Liberty Global buys stake in UK broadcaster ITV

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S.-based cable group Liberty Global (LBTYA.O: Quote, Profile, Research) has bought BSkyB’s (BSY.L: Quote, Profile, Research) 6.4 percent stake in ITV (ITV.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster, boosting its shares on hopes of a wider bid.

Billionaire John Malone’s Liberty, which bought British cable operator Virgin Media as part of a European expansion last year, said it did not intend to make an offer for the rest of the broadcaster, but ITV shares still rose 9 percent.

Jul 17, 2014

ITV shares jump as Malone’s Liberty Global buys stake

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) – John Malone’s cable group
Liberty Global has bought a 6.4 percent stake in ITV
from BSkyB, lifting shares in Britain’s biggest
free-to-air commercial broadcaster on hopes of a wider bid.

Liberty, which bought Virgin Media in Britain as part of a
European expansion last year, said it did not intend to make an
offer for the rest of ITV, but shares in the group still rose 9
percent at the open as investors digested the move.

Jul 16, 2014

Vodafone CEO says unlikely to look at America Movil Mexico assets

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it was unlikely to be interested in telecom assets being put up for sale in Mexico by tycoon Carlos Slim’s America Movil (AMXL.MX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) since a deal would not fit with its focus on the corporate market in Latin America.

America Movil has pledged to sell unspecified assets, which analysts say could include mobile subscribers and spectrum, to cut its market share in Mexico below 50 percent and escape tougher regulations.

Jul 4, 2014

BT pension fund in record deal to offload longevity risk

LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) – The trustees of BT Group Plc’s
pension scheme have taken out insurance against the costs
associated with members living longer than expected, in the
biggest such deal of its kind in Britain.

BT, a former state telecoms group, has 320,000 members in
its scheme, making it the country’s largest private sector
defined-benefit pension plan, which requires annual top ups from
the parent company.

Jul 3, 2014

Serco to write down the value of some contracts

LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) – British outsourcing firm Serco
, forced to raise cash after a collapse in profits, said
it expected to write down the value of some of its larger
loss-making contracts as part of a review of its business.

The firm, which said it was trading in line with its
expectations, noted that the writedowns could hit its previously
stated forecasts for the financial year. Shares in the group
slipped 0.6 percent by 1104 GMT.

Jun 25, 2014

In defence of Rebekah Brooks: a British lawyer cripples the prosecution case

LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) – Just weeks before her trial on
phone-hacking charges was due to start, Rebekah Brooks got some
crushing news: the former head of Rupert Murdoch’s British
newspaper arm learnt that her main defence lawyer could no
longer represent her.

Brooks need not have worried about losing John Kelsey-Fry,
who dropped out as he himself might be called as a witness in
the case, even though he is one of Britain’s best trial lawyers.

Jun 25, 2014

Vodafone to win EU approval for $9.8 billion Ono deal: sources

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – Vodafone is set to gain unconditional EU approval for its 7.2-billion-euro ($9.79 billion) bid for Spain’s largest cable operator Ono as regulators do not have competition concerns, three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The deal is part of a wave of consolidation in the telecoms industry and is the British firm’s third acquisition of a European fixed-broadband asset in two years.

Jun 24, 2014

Murdoch protegee Brooks cleared in case that shook British establishment

LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) – Rebekah Brooks, the former boss
of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspaper arm, was acquitted on
Tuesday of orchestrating a campaign to hack into phones and
bribe officials in a case that has shaken the British political

A jury at London’s Old Bailey court cleared Brooks
unanimously but found Andy Coulson – her former lover and Prime
Minister David Cameron’s ex-media chief – guilty of conspiring
to intercept messages to break news about royalty, celebrities
and victims of crime.

Jun 24, 2014

Special Report: Rebekah Brooks – The tangled tale of a tabloid career

LONDON (Reuters) – On July 7, 2011, at the height of Britain’s phone-hacking scandal, Rebekah Brooks announced the closure of Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, The News of the World. That evening, she sat with senior colleagues in a restaurant in London’s Chelsea Harbour, fighting back tears.

    The group – which included James Murdoch, chairman of News Corp’s British newspaper arm – vowed to fight on. ”It was them against the world,” said a former senior News Corp figure with knowledge of the dinner. “They just believed … it was once more unto the breach. Just one more charge.”

    • About Kate

      "I am based in London and cover the UK media and telecoms sectors including BSkyB, Vodafone and WPP. I have previously covered UK general news and sports including major events such as the Olympics and football World Cups."
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