Sky stuns City after Ball bags £10m in 'non-compete' deal

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The Independent Online

Institutional investors reacted with amazement yesterday to the disclosure that Tony Ball, the outgoing chief executive of BSkyB, is to receive £10m in return for not working for a rival broadcaster for two years.

The payment is equal to four times the £2.5m salary Mr Ball earned last year and means that, together with the vast sums he has already earned from Sky, he need never work again.

The terms of the "non-compete" agreement will be set out in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in the next six weeks. Its existence was disclosed at last Friday's Sky annual meeting but the size of the payment only became clear over the weekend. It also emerged that Mr Ball's original contract did not have a non-compete clause when he took the job in 1999. The agreement was cobbled together after his departure was announced. An adviser to Sky said it was a "cock-up" that should have been sorted out four years ago.

The National Association of Pension Funds said non-compete clauses tended to be of little value because they had generally been found to be unenforceable in law. The NAPF and the Association of British Insurers said they would raise the matter in meetings with Sky's board over the next few weeks.