Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has bought a near15 % stake in Germany’s largest pay-TV broadcaster Premiere (PREGn.DE) for 287m euros, states Reuters. Murdoch’s media conglomerate, News Corporation that consists of Fox News Channel and part of BskyB, does not currently plan to increase the stake in Premiere.
The Munich-based Premiere has been at the centre of market speculation that French media group Vivendi was interested in it. Following Murdoch’s purchase, Premiere shares gained 26 % and closed up 19.94 % at 15.28 euros on the Frankfurt stock exchange. News Corporation recently completed a $5.6 bn buyout of Dow Jones & Co Inc and bought a 14.58 percent stake from German cable operator Unitymedia for 17.50 euros per share.
Unitymedia received 16.4 million Premiere shares last year as a result of a co-operation deal on German Bundesliga soccer games, and later sold them to News Corporation. Murdoch was also involved in media entrepreneur Leo Kirch’s Kirch Group, which used to own Premiere. He stated in the report that he saw enormous potential for growth in Germany and believed that the time was right to invest in its foremost pay-TV business, Premiere.
Analysts have protested otherwise stating that the German TV market was difficult because viewers had more than 30 free programmes at a time to choose from and were reluctant to pay extra, except for Bundesliga matches.
Premiere is not Murdoch’s first venture in German television. News Corporation once owned a 49 % stake in VOX, which belongs to a European broadcasting company RTL Groups, owned by Bertelsmann (BERT.UL).