BSkyB crops name to SkyTV after European deal

The UK's largest Pay TV operator BSkyB  dropped British and Broadcasting as it adopted Sky as its official name yesterday following completion of the £7-billion acquisition of its European sister companies, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia .

According to Sky, now Europe's largest-entertainment company, the change was ''to recognise the international scope of the business'' and its move towards entertainment and services other than broadcast TV.

The enlarged company would continue to be listed in London with the chief executive of the British arm, Jeremy Darroch, assuming overarching responsibility for Sky Deutschland and Italian operations, as group chief executive.

The chief executives of Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia, Brian Sullivan and Andrea Zappia, both former BSkyB executives, continue in charge in their respective countries for day-to-day operations.

The company's customer base across the UK, Italy,  Germany, Austria, and Ireland now stood at 20 million with a combined programme budget of £4.6 billion.

A number of Sky Deutschland shareholders, including hedge fund manager Crispin Odey, who controlled an 8-per cent stake in through his hedge fund Odey Asset Management, had said in July they would not accept Sky's €6.75 per share offer, but later changed tack (See: BskyB offer for Sky Deutschland rejected by major shareholder).

Finally, after the acquisition of 21st Century Fox's nearly 57-per cent stake, Sky would control 89.7 per cent of Sky Deutschland.

The cropped name was designed to acknowledge both its new status as a pan-European company and its increasing focus on telecoms services and non-broadcast television, delivered over the internet.