Tuesday, 29 January 2008

BSkyB ordered to sell ITV stake

BSkyB has been ordered by the government on Tuesday to reduce its 17.9% stake in broadcaster ITV to below 7.5%. The reason is because the purchase was anti-competitive, potentially costing the company around £250 million.

Secretary of State for Business and Enterprise John Hutton also ordered BSkyB “not to sell the shares to an ‘associated person’, nor to seek representation on the board of ITV and not to reacquire shares in the broadcaster”. He furthermore said he would not disclose the time period given to BSkyB for the sale, following a request from the company.

This ruling from Mr John Hutton could cost BSkyB around £250 million if it sold at Monday's closing share price, since the value of the shares has dropped since the purchase. ITV welcomed the ruling and said it was in the best interests of the overwhelming majority of its shareholders, while BSkyB said it would give careful consideration to the announcement and confirm any further steps in due course.

Shares in ITV initially opened up 2% before settling at 0.8% up at 72.6 pence. Shares in BSkyB were up 0.6% at 534 pence. (source: Reuters)

Restaurant giant McDonald's has seen its latest quarterly profits increase just 3%, as sluggish US sales trailed behind those in its overseas markets. In the three months to the end of December, the company's net profit rose to $1.27 billion (£640 million) from $1.24 billion (£620 million) for the same period in 2006.

McDonald's said its US sales were being hit by "softer consumer spending". McDonald's group-wide quarterly revenues rose 6% to $5.8 billion (£2.9 billion), from $5.4 billion (£2.7 billion) a year previously. Same-store global sales were up 6.7%. (source: BBC News)

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