Co-op will vote against BSkyB at AGM
Pay TV broadcaster BSkyB suffered a fresh blow to its share buyback plans after shareholder Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) announced it would vote against the proposal at what is expected to be a stormy AGM this Friday.
The insurer, which joins a growing list of institutional investors who have threatened to scupper the plan, said it “was not satisfied with the answers received from the company”.
Sky is seeking approval at its annual meeting to repurchase up to 5 per cent of the group’s shares. Hermes, Legal & General, F&C and the Universities Superannuation Scheme have already come out against the resolution.
Large institutional members of the Association of British Insurers have concerns about Sky’s buy back due to the “creeping control” it would give the group’s News Corp parent company, headed by media tycoon and Sky chairman Rupert Murdoch.
According to the Research, Recommendations and Electronic Voting service, if News Corp exercises the authority, its holding would increase from 37 per cent to above 39 per cent without the group having to inject any more cash.
CIS welcomed the voting agreement between News Corp and BSkyB to limit the voting rights of the parent company but warned it was not enough to overcome concerns about the increased shareholding. BSkyB returned more than £416m to shareholders through share buy backs in the last financial year.