BSkyB Stock Hits 52-Week High After Earnings Report

The U.K. pay TV giant, in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns a 39 percent stake, exceeded financial expectations.

LONDON -- The stock of U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB hit a 52-week high on Thursday following better-than-expected earnings for its fiscal first half.

Shares of the company, in which Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns a 39 percent stake, rose as high as $13.19 (£8.32) before trending up 1.5 percent to $13.03 (£8.22) later in the day.

Britain's biggest pay TV provider grew first-half operating profit of 7.7 percent, exceeding analysts’ expectations thanks to higher prices and continued broadband user growth.

Traditional pay TV subscriber growth only reached 25,000 in the fourth quarter of 2012, but the firm added just as many subscribers to its new Internet-only TV service NowTV.

UBS analyst Polo Tang predicted the stock gain after the earnings report, but maintained his "neutral" rating. "Near-term, we think BSkyB will perform well given growth from NowTV and rollout of broadband in the Republic of Ireland," he said. "However, longer-term, we expect broadband growth for BSkyB to slow as BT rolls out more of its fibre network and BT's impact on the pay TV market remains uncertain."

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