UK media and telecoms correspondent
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Feb 23, 2015

Top British lawmakers deny wrongdoing over “cash for access” report

LONDON (Reuters) – Two former British foreign ministers have been filmed offering their services to a fictitious Chinese company in return for thousands of pounds, reigniting a damaging 2010 “cash for access” row just months before an election.

Malcolm Rifkind, a senior member of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives who heads a committee scrutinising security policy, and Jack Straw, Labour’s foreign minister when Britain went to war in Iraq, both denied any wrongdoing.

Feb 20, 2015

“Self-censoring” scandal at newspaper roils UK press landscape

LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – One of Britain’s most storied
newspapers has been accused of self-censoring for commercial
gain, raising awkward questions about a centuries-old press
culture which has prided itself on its no-holds-barred approach
to truth telling.

The 160-year-old Daily Telegraph strongly denied accusations
in a resignation letter by one of its best known writers, who
said the paper had soft-pedalled coverage of a banking scandal
to curry favour with an advertiser.

Feb 19, 2015

British business takes fright at prospect of a Miliband government

LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) – British opposition leader Ed
Miliband has so alarmed business executives with his talk of
‘asset strippers’ and ‘tax dodgers’ that many want a
Conservative win at the election, even if it carries the risk of
an exit from Europe.

Representatives of some of Britain’s biggest firms accuse
the Labour party leader of demonising big business as a way to
align himself with ordinary voters before the May 7 election.

Feb 18, 2015

UK earnings stretch lead over inflation, jobless rate falls

LONDON (Reuters) – British pay growth outstripped a dwindling inflation rate by the widest margin since before the financial crisis, several measures of earnings showed on Wednesday, giving many households a boost ahead of elections in May.

The Office for National Statistics also said the unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent, its lowest level in more than six years, as the recovery in the country’s labor market extended its nearly two-year run.

Feb 11, 2015

Sky’s stratospheric soccer bill sends shares falling

LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Shares in Sky fell more than 4 percent on Wednesday after the pay-TV group agreed to pay a record 4.2 billion pounds ($6.4 billion) to retain its dominance of Premier League soccer broadcasting rights in Britain.

Analysts had expected Sky to pay about 40 percent more than the 2.3 billion pounds it shelled out for the current three-year contract. Instead, under pressure from fierce rival BT, Sky offered an 83 percent increase to secure the new contract running from 2016 to 2019.

Feb 10, 2015

Sky pays record 4.2 bln stg for top English soccer rights, BT takes the rest

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Pay-TV group Sky has agreed to pay 4.2 billion pounds ($6.4 billion) to show 126 live English Premier League matches a season from 2016 to 2019, smashing analysts’ forecasts to beat fierce rival BT to the best games.

After one of the most high-profile broadcast auctions of recent times, the Premier League said that Sky had won five of the seven rights packages, including the most popular Sunday afternoon matches showing the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal.

Feb 5, 2015

BT seals EE deal to dominate British telecoms market

LONDON (Reuters) – BT (BT.L: Quote, Profile, Research) finalised a deal on Thursday to buy mobile operator EE for 12.5 billion pounds ($19 billion) and now faces a contested approval process to seal its status as Britain’s dominant communications company.

The deal, bringing together BT’s more than 10 million retail customers and EE’s 24.5 million direct mobile subscribers, will be funded by a one billion pound share issue and debt, and was warmly received by investors, who sent its shares to a 14-year high.

Feb 4, 2015

Strong British and German demand boost maiden Sky results

LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Strong demand for pay TV in
Britain and a record jump in German customers helped Sky Plc
post better-than-expected first-half profit on
Wednesday in its first results as a European group.

Sky, which formed from the combination of Britain’s BSkyB,
Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia to serve 20 million customers in
Europe, said it had also seen a significant decline in the
number of people leaving the platform.

Feb 2, 2015

Ryanair sees cheap oil fuelling competition on fares

DUBLIN/LONDON, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Ryanair cautioned
on Monday that profits would only rise modestly in the year
ahead as low oil prices help rivals to cut fares, taking the
shine off its third profit upgrade in as many months for the
year ending in March.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, has
increased its profit forecast for the current financial year by
over 30 percent since it reported stellar half-year results
three months ago, due to improvements in its much berated
customer service that have boosted fares and passenger numbers.

Jan 30, 2015

BT to upgrade fibre network in latest stage of transformation

LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – The revival of the once staid
British telecom monopoly BT picked up pace on Friday when
it launched a drive to upgrade its fibre network ahead of a key
soccer rights auction and a deal to buy mobile operator EE.

Getting its finances in order ahead of the two pivotal
events, BT also agreed a new deal with its pension trustees to
tackle a deficit that has hit 7 billion pounds ($10.5 billion),
up from 3.9 billion pounds three years ago.

    • 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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