Murdoch Mulls Europe Pay-TV Moves

30 June 2008

LONDON: The News Corporation media machine is again on the acquisition trail, its sights this time set on Europe. Anonymous sources quoted in the company's Wall Street Journal suggest Murdoch scion James is mulling bids for pay-TV businesses in Germany and Spain.

Satellite broadcasters Premiere in Germany and Digital+ in Spain would cost the media and entertainment titan more than €4 billion ($6.3bn; £3.17bn).

NewsCorp has built a 25.01% stake in Munich-headquartered Premiere during the last six months but has refused to confirm it is seriously considering making a play for the entire business.

For its part, Premiere says it is unaware of any further moves by NewsCorp, whose last assault on Germany ended ignominiously in 2002 with the collapse of the Kirch Group.

Media conglomerate Prisa is likely to decide next month if it will put Digital+ under the hammer. In addition, to NewsCorp's interest, other possible bidders could include French media and telecoms giant Vivendi and Spanish telcos Cableuropa and Telefónica.

The acquisition of one or both of the TV firms would expand the territory of Murdoch minor, who heads NewsCorp's Europe and Asia operations.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff