US billionaire John Malone’s Liberty Global agreed to buy Virgin Media for £14bn on Wednesday as Mr Malone, a longstanding rival of Rupert Murdoch, targets the UK for the first time.
“I don’t think there’s really a big change to the landscape there,” said James Murdoch, who was chairman of BSkyB until the phone-hacking scandal forced his resignation last year.
Although Liberty Global has sought to play down the rivalry between Mr Malone and Rupert Murdoch, the acquisition of Virgin Media will see the two battle for supremacy in the UK pay-TV market. BSkyB outstrips its smaller rival and has double the number of subscribers.
The comment from James Murdoch, who now works for News Corp in New York, came as the company reported better-than-expected profits for the final three months of last year. Profits jumped to $ 2.38bn (£1.5bn) from $ 1.06bn, as its cable networks in the US enjoyed strong growth. News Corp also revealed that it spent $ 243m last year on the fall-out from the phone-hacking scandal that threatened to topple Rupert Murdoch in 2011.