BSkyB appeals to suspend regulatory sports ruling

* Appeals for interim relief to prepare full appeal

* Says ruling would damage Sky’s business

LONDON, April 23 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s dominant pay-TV firm BSkyB (BSY.L: )
launched an appeal on Friday to suspend a regulatory ruling forcing it to sell
its prized sporting content to rivals at a heavy reduction.

Lawyers for the satellite group told the Competition Appeals Tribunal in
London they were seeking interim relief from the ruling as they prepare a full
appeal against the Ofcom decision.

Ofcom said in March that Sky must sell its sports channels to rivals at a
more than 20 percent reduction to the current prices in a drive to give greater
choice to consumers. [ID:nLDE62L1A3]

The announcement followed a three-year review and was prompted by rivals
including Virgin Media (VMED.O: )(VMED.L: ) and BT (BT.L: ) which accused BSkyB of
being anti-competitive.

Lawyers acting for Sky told a packed hearing on Friday that the company had
not been accused of breaching competition law and said the effect would be to
“strike at the heart” of Sky’s ability to sell its assets and intellectual
property as it sees fit.

The lawyers also argued that Ofcom had not recognised the enormity of its
decision and said the regulator was acting as if it knew best. They pointed out
that Sky had taken huge financial risks to start the company and was now seen as
one of the most successful firms around, with almost 10 million subscribers.

Sky’s team said a full appeal could take up to nine months.

A legal team representing the English Premier League said they wished to
lend their support to Sky’s case and said any reduction in wholesale rates would
mean rivals would have less incentive to bid for sporting rights themselves,
meaning the value of rights would fall over time.

The English Premier League had already indicated it intended to appeal the
television ruling. [ID:nLDE63M10J]

Stock Market Report

(Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

BSkyB appeals to suspend regulatory sports ruling