News Corp. raised its stake in German pay-TV operator Premiere AG to 19.9%, adding to the 14.58% interest it bought in January for $424.4 million. NWS didn’t say who sold the additional shares.
News Corp.’s European pay-TV holdings include a 39% stake in BSkyB, with 8.8 million subscribers in the UK, as well as full ownership of Sky Italia, Italy’s largest pay-TV provider with 4 million subscribers. In a statement, News Corp. said James Murdoch, chairman/CEO for Europe and Asia and Rupert’s heir apparent, will work with Premiere management “on the growth and future direction of the business.”
In its earnings call earlier this month, News Corp. managmement described their investment in Premiere as testing-the-waters move, so it could figure out if it wanted to make a bigger play in German cable. We’re “going very carefully” so we can “study it without being pre-empted by somebody else”, Rupert Murdoch said.
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