Market Report: BSkyB falls after splitting Rugby broadcasting rights deal with rival BT


BSkyB failed to dismiss lingering doubts about the health of its TV business yesterday, despite a deal with its arch-enemy, BT.

Yesterday the two made a deal to share broadcasting rights for a new rugby competition. While the 50/50 split is favourable to both, sector watchers don’t think this signals an end to the battle over sports rights.

Espirito Santo said: “We continue to assume significant cost inflation for programming,” due to “uncertainty around bidding competition for football rights”.

Meanwhile Barclays forecast a slowdown in Sky’s third-quarter revenues, adding: “We feel that the investment case is again hard to make.”

BT lost 1.9p to 358p, while Sky fell 10.5p to 877p.

Traders had a torrid time on the blue-chip market as a sell-off on Wall Street provoked a run on equities in London. Growth stocks were punished, with technology companies and housebuilders tumbling.

Only a few familiar names managed to eke out gains: Morrisons, up 3.9p to 201.2p; British Gas-owner Centrica, 1.2p higher at 334.9p; the consumer goods giant Unilever, 13p better at 2,635p; and the precious metals miner Fresnillo, up 9p at 908.5p.

The FTSE 100 closed down 80.27 points at 6,561.7, capping its worst week in a month.

Berenberg stoked rumours that Weir’s all-share merger proposal with Finnish Metso could be gatecrashed, saying it is “far from a done deal”. The bank named the US giants GE or Caterpillar as most likely to gazump the bid. Weir slumped 71p to 2,496p.

Things were slightly brighter on the mid-cap index. After tumbling on Thursday, investors gave the pig-semen provider Genus another go, up 20.5p at 960.5p, while the Russian conference organiser ITE Group climbed 7.3p to 208.3p; the Ukrainian-focused iron ore producer Ferrexpo gained 2.9p to 154.5p, ahead of results next week.

On Aim, the turbine supplier Atlantis Resources ticked up 0.5p to 68.5p after N+1 Singer called it “a key player” in the tidal power industry.

URU Metals Limited climbed 0.17p to 1.27p after the takeover of Umnex Minerals Limpopo.