Satellite broadcaster BSkyB nears key 10m subscriptions

SATELLITE broadcaster BSkyB is tipped to say it is edging closer to its target of 10m subscribers when it reports first quarter trading on Friday.

Broker Numis Securities expects the group to reveal that it picked up 53,000 subscribers in the three months to September, leaving it with more than 9.9m customers. Numis also forecasts that BSkyB will unveil an eight per cent rise in revenue to £1.49bn, driven by a 14 per cent increase in retail revenue to £1.27bn, and pre-tax profit of £227m.

Investors will also be interested in anything the broadcaster says about shareholder Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to seize full control of the company. BSkyB has rejected Murdoch’s offer of £8bn for the 61 per cent of the company that the media tycoon does not already own, but the pair have agreed to start work on the regulatory details of a potential deal.

BSkyB’s media rivals have got together to oppose the deal, writing to business secretary Vince Cable to express concerns that it could threaten competition and give Murdoch too much political influence. Signatories to the letter include publishers of newspapers including the Daily Mirror, Guardian and Daily Telegraph.