BSkyB is to scrap the word “British” from its branding after almost 25 years as the company completes an ambitious transformation into a pan-European pay TV giant following the £6.88bn buyout of its sister companies in Germany and Italy.
The enlarged company, which is 39.1% controlled by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, will revert to the Sky name that Murdoch used when launching into the UK pay-TV market at the end of the 1980s.
British Sky Broadcasting was formed in 1990 by the merger of Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Television with British Satellite Broadcasting.
BSkyB announced the name change on Thursday, although it will need to be rubber-stamped by shareholders at the company’s AGM on 21 November.
The word “Broadcasting” is also being dropped to reflect the company’s evolution beyond TV into a multimedia content company.
The completion of the buy-out of Sky’s sister companies will see Murdoch achieve a long held ambition of creating a pan-European pay-TV giant with more than £11bn in revenues and 20 million customers in the UK, Germany, Italy, Austria and Ireland.
The enlarged business will be a programme and content powerhouse with a combined budget of £4.6bn and deliver profits of about £1.3bn annually, most of which are generated by the highly successful UK operation.
“The three Sky businesses will be even better together,” said Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of BSkyB who steps up to run the enlarged group.
“By joining together, we will share our strengths and expertise while retaining a strong identity in each country where we operate. The opportunity ahead is substantial and we believe the new Sky will be good for customers, content creators and shareholders alike.”
Brian Sullivan will remain as chief executive of the Sky operation in Germany, and Andrea Zappia will continue to lead Sky in Italy.
On Wednesday, Sky confirmed it had completed the takeovers of the Fox-owned Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland, in which Fox had a 57% stake.
Sky also made an offer to minority shareholders in Sky Deutschland, 89.71% of whom accepted. In total Sky paid £6.88bn to form the pan-European pay-TV company.