LONDON Oct 13 Almost 30 percent of voting
shareholders at Sky opposed the appointment of James
Murdoch as chairman of the European pay TV group on Thursday,
with some saying he was too closely linked to the group's
largest investor, owned by his father Rupert.
James Murdoch, who became Sky chairman in January, won 71.55
percent support in a vote to confirm his appointment at the
company's annual shareholder meeting, below the 90-plus percents
obtained by other board members.
Sky is 39 percent-owned by Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First
"Should Fox make a bid for Sky, investors need a strong
independent chairman to protect the interests of minority
shareholders and negotiate the best possible deal," said Piers
Hillier, chief investment officer of Royal London, which holds
0.35 percent of the shares in Sky.
"Additionally no attempts were made to advertise the
position externally, or appoint an agency, which goes against
the UK corporate governance code."
James Murdoch's appointment came four years after he was
forced out of the same position by a phone-hacking scandal, just
as he was on the verge of selling the British company to Fox. He
went on to become chief executive of Fox in 2015.
"The board decision to reappoint James as chairman was
unanimous and recognised that he is a highly experienced
executive with extensive knowledge of the international media
industry and has been a strong contributor to Sky since he
joined the board in 2003," the company said in a statement.
It said the presence of independent directors on the board
would protect the interests of independent shareholders.
"Nevertheless, we will engage with those shareholders who
voted against the resolution," it added.
Earlier on Thursday, Sky reported a 5 percent rise in
first-quarter underlying revenue and said it was on track to
meet its full-year targets.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mark Potter)