BSkyB starts European invasion, buys Sky Italia and stake in Sky Deutschland

Sky has released its financial year end results and revealed that it is expanding into Europe in order to become one the largest pay TV operators in the world.

This will be achieved by acquiring 100 per cent of Sky Italia and a controlling stake in Sky Deutschland (57.4 per cent). Both are currently owned by 21st Century Fox, which owns a 39.1 per cent stake in BSkyB and will continue to do so after the mergers have been completed.

"We have always believed that a combination of the European Skys would create enormous benefits for the combined business and for our shareholders," said James Murdoch, co-chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox.

"Ultimately, a pan-European Sky is good for customers, who will benefit from the accelerated technological innovation and enhanced customer experience made possible by a fully integrated business."

BSkyB's financial results also show that it had a good fourth quarter for the financial year. Its revenue was up by 6.5 per cent year on year, albeit that its operating profit was down by 5.3 per cent because of increased investment.

In consumer figures though, it has increased the number of TV customers in the UK alone by over 700,000 in the last year. The Sky+HD service has seen the most growth, with 5.242 million subscribers as of 30 June, although a majority of customers still subscribe to the standard TV service; 10.636 million of them.

The message about connecting Sky+HD boxes to the internet to get better services, such as catch up and on demand TV, is finally getting through. Over 700,000 customers connected in the last three months alone. However, around half the HD subscribers are still not receiving the free additional benefits as they are yet to connect their boxes to the internet.