Is Now the Time to Buy British Sky Broadcasting?


LONDON -- I'm always searching for shares that can help ordinary investors like you make money from the stock market.

So right now I am trawling through the FTSE 100 and giving my verdict on every member of the blue-chip index. Simply put, I'm hoping to pinpoint the very best buying opportunities in today's uncertain market.

Today I am looking at British Sky Broadcasting to determine whether you should consider buying the shares at 760 pence.

I am assessing each company on several ratios:

Price/Earnings: Does the share look like a good value when compared against its competitors?

Price/Earnings Growth: Does the share look good value factoring in predicted growth?

Yield: Does the share provide a solid income for investors?

Dividend Cover: Is the dividend sustainable?

So let's look at the numbers:



3-Year EPS Growth

Projected P/E



3-Year dividend Growth

Dividend cover


760 pence







The consensus analyst estimate for next year's earnings per share is 56 pence (11% growth) and dividend per share is 28.3 pence (11% growth).

Trading on a projected P/E of 13.8, BSkyB appears significantly cheaper than its peers in the media sector, who are currently trading on an average P/E of around 17. BSkyB's P/E and double-digit growth rate give it a PEG ratio of around 1.3, which implies the share is moderately priced for the near-term earnings growth the company is expected to produce.

Offering a 3.3% yield, the dividend is about average for the media sector. However, BSkyB has a three-year compounded dividend growth rate of 31%, implying the payout could soon overtake the sector average.

Indeed, the dividend is about two times covered, giving BSkyB plenty room for further payout growth. BSkyB returned 750 million pounds to shareholders through share buybacks during 2012, and is in the process of returning a further 500 million pounds to shareholders for the first half of its current financial year.

Steady growth
Of all the companies within the FTSE 100, I think BSkyB has produced one of the steadiest and most predictable growth rates. The company has seen earnings per share grow 100% since 2008 and investors have reaped the benefits of this gain -- during the same period, dividends are up approximately 60%. I believe this dividend advance is down to BSkyB's commitment to a progressive dividend policy, which returns 50% of earnings to shareholders.

Recently, there has been concern about BSkyB's competition, particularly the fight with BT over Premiership football rights. I can see from BSkyB's most recent half-year report that the costs from this fight are impacting the company. Cash generated from operations fell to 224 million pounds from 291 million pounds during the same period last year, and the fall was attributable to increasing costs, particularly in relation to the Premier League broadcasting rights .

Despite increasing rights costs, BSkyB is still a highly profitable company, with an 18% profit margin, which allows for dependable payments to shareholders. These shareholder returns, as well as BSkyB's significant P/E discount to sector peers, lead me to believe now looks like a good time to buy BSkyB at 760 pence.

More FTSE opportunities
As well as BSkyB, I am also positive on the FTSE shares highlighted in "8 Dividend Plays Held By Britain's Super Investor." This exclusive report reveals the favorite income stocks owned by Neil Woodford -- the City legend whose portfolios have thrashed the FTSE All-Share by 200% during the 15 years to October 2012.

The report, which explains the full investing logic behind Woodford's dividend strategy and his preferred blue chips, is free to all private investors. Just click here for your copy. But do hurry, as the report is available for a limited time only.

In the meantime, please stay tuned for my next verdict on a FTSE 100 share.


The article Is Now the Time to Buy British Sky Broadcasting? originally appeared on

Rupert Hargreaves has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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