Market Report: Sky on the up as Ofcom scraps sports TV discount

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Shares in Sky hit the back of the net after Ofcom ruled the pay-TV giant no longer has to offer Premier League football to its rivals at mates’ rates. 

In 2010, the regulator decided Sky has too much power in the sports TV market, forcing it to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 on a wholesale basis to the likes of BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media at a 23% discount to stir competition.

Five years on, Ofcom is happy it has achieved its goal now BT is a genuine alternative to Sky for consumers and now Sky can also be viewed on other services such as Now TV.

It is a big decision given the price the big players pay for Premier League rights.

Earlier this year, Sky paid a staggering £4.18 billion for five out of the seven packages over the next three seasons, while BT forked out close to £1 billion for the remaining games.

Ofcom’s ruling booted Sky 17p higher to 1109p, while it caught investors in TalkTalk offside as it dropped 5.6p to 236.5p, still more than 30p below the pre-hack price. BT edged up 2.1p to 489.35p.

Putting BT’s rise into perspective, the FTSE 100 advanced 64.11 points, or 1%, to 6343.08 on the back of minutes from Federal Reserve policymakers, who without too much conviction confirmed they still planned to raise US interest rates next month.

Michael Hewson at CMC Markets said: “It was also notable that most Fed officials saw diminished risks from abroad, but that was before the recent events in Paris, which could shift the debate in the coming weeks.”

Johnson Matthey accelerated 198p to 2655p after unveiling plans to line investors’ pockets with a £305 million special dividend following the sales of its precious metals refining and research chemicals businesses.

The world’s largest maker of auto-catalysts also speculated that more robust testing for diesel cars in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal would play into its hands.

Reports that Pfizer, the US drugs giant behind Viagra, and Dublin-based Botox creator Allergan are close to agreeing a mega-merger injected life into the UK’s drugs makers. 

Shire, which was the subject of a failed takeover attempt from US firm AbbVie last year, rose 90p to 4763p, while AstraZeneca, which batted away Pfizer’s affections in 2014, lifted 46.5p to 4455.5p. 

Investors dug into Compass Group, rising 31p at 1087p, after French catering rival Sodexo’s strong results and €300 million (£210 million) share buyback.

Challenger banks Aldermore, 10.6p cheaper at 266.4p, and Shawbrook, down 4.7p to 334.7p, fell on the back of downgrades from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

On AIM, Ultimate Sports Group jogged 0.3p ahead to 27.8p on the day its mobile sports coaching platform is launched by Dame Kelly Holmes at Lord’s cricket ground.

Source Article from http://www.standard.co.uk/business/market-report-sky-on-the-up-as-ofcom-scraps-sports-tv-discount-a3118721.html

November 19, 2015 |
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