Sky has toasted the twilight of its independence after posting a 5% increase in like-for-like revenues to £13.6bn to cap what it describes as an ‘exceptional year’.
Growth has been driven by strong customer demand for its Sky Q television service which has now been installed in 3.6m homes, an increase of 2.3m year-on-year. Double digit customer growth in the fourth quarter of 39% means Sky now has a presence in 23m European households which between them utilise 63m products, itself an 81% rise.
In recent months Sky has instigated a series of content partnerships with the likes of Netflix, BT Sport and Spotify while also upgrading services in Germany and Italy as a springboard for future continental growth.
Group chief executive Jeremy Darroch commented: “In the UK and Ireland, our largest market, we've delivered an excellent operational and financial performance whilst scaling our new initiatives. In Germany and Austria, we have comprehensively upgraded all our services as part of our plans for sustained long-term growth in what is Europe's largest TV market.
“In Italy, we've had a ground-breaking year, opening up significant new growth opportunities for our business by offering new services over DTT and fibre, allowing us to reach new segments of the market. “
On his own future, Darroch told BBC Radio 4 that he was concentrating on producing the best results for shareholders rather than his own future following the takeover and would not be drawn on having a preferred bidder.
Comcast is currently locked in a bidding war with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to wrest full control of Sky, tabling an improved offer of $31bn and a pledge to invest in the UK in order to seal the deal.