Shareholders in Sky Television have voted strongly in favour of the proposed merger with Vodafone that would see them holding 49 per cent of the merged entity.
Almost 80 per cent of shareholders voted by proxy ahead of shareholders meeting on the morning of 6 July, and 97 per cent were in favour of the merger.
Under the proposal, Sky will purchase Vodafone NZ from its parent company, the UK-based Vodafone Group, for $3.44 billion, to be funded by payment of $1.25 billion in cash and the issue of new Sky shares at a price of $5.40 per share.
Vodafone will become a 51 per cent majority shareholder in Sky. Sky estimates the deal will generate a post-tax net present value of approximately $850 million after integration costs.
In an address to the meeting Sky chairman, Peter Macourt, warned shareholders that the industry was at a crossroads and change was essential for survival.
“The internet has permanently changed the way people consume media and entertainment services,” Macourt said.
“To stay ahead of the game, we must find new and innovative ways to deliver our content. The acquisition of Vodafone NZ will allow the combined group of Sky and Vodafone NZ to deliver New Zealand’s premium entertainment content over both fibre and mobile networks, and provide our customers with greater choice and a better entertainment experience.”
New technologies are rapidly increasing the quality with which video can be delivered over broadband networks like that operated by Vodafone.
Last November the company announced that its hybrid fibre-coaxial network serving Christchurch, Wellington and Kapiti would be one the first in the world to deploy next-generation DOCSIS 3.1 architecture, capable of delivering bandwidths of up to 10Gbps.
Emerging video technologies like ultra high definition (aka 4K) and high dynamic range (HDR) will require much greater bandwidth than today’s technologies, but will deliver greatly improved picture quality.
The International Telecommunication Union has today announced its HDR standard (or ‘Recommendation’ in ITU parlance), saying that HDR “brings a further boost to television images, giving viewers an enhanced visual experience with added realism.
“The HDR-TV Recommendation allows TV programs to take full advantage of the new and much brighter display technologies,” the ITU said. “HDR-TV can make outdoor sunlit scenes appear brighter and more natural, adding highlights and sparkle. It enhances dimly lit interior and night scenes, revealing more detail in darker areas, giving TV producers the ability to reveal texture and subtle colours that are usually lost with existing standard dynamic range TV.”