European pay-TV giant Sky, on course for a takeover by 21st Century Fox despite British hurdles, announced Thursday slim profits on the soaring cost of screening English Premier League football.
Net profit rose 4.4 percent to £695 million ($914 million, 780 million euros) during its financial year to the end of June, compared with 2015/16, Sky said in an earnings statement.
Sky said its day-to-day operating profit was down £97 million after absorbing £629 million of costs to screen live matches featuring the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.
“Total costs grew by five percent, significantly impacted by the one-time step up in the new three year Premier League contract,” Sky said.
The huge outlay was cushioned by a ten percent jump in group revenue to £12.9 billion.
The update comes one week after the British government said it would shortly decide whether to formally investigate the proposed takeover of Sky by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox entertainment group.
Karen Bradley, the Conservative government’s minister for culture, media and sport, said she was “still minded” to launch an in-depth investigation into the £11.4-billion bid for the 61-percent of Sky not yet owned by Fox.
The blockbuster takeover has already been approved by regulators in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Italy as well as the European Union.
British media watchdog Ofcom has warned that the deal would hand Murdoch “increased influence” over Britain’s news agenda and the political process.