NEW YORK: The ever-prowling chieftain of Clan Murdoch has moved into German TV with News Corporation's $421 million (€286.7m; £213.67m) acquisition of a 14.6% cash stake in the nation' biggest pay-TV firm Premiere AG.

Quoth the chieftain: "We see enormous potential for growth in Germany and believe the time is right to invest in its foremost pay-TV business, Premiere."

Once part of entrepreneur Leo Kirch's fallen media empire, which collapsed in 2002, Premiere was eyed at that time by NewsCorp with a view to a rescue bid that failed to materialize.

But the local moneymen believe Murdoch will not be satisfied long-term with NewsCorp's present holding. Says M M Warburg analyst Michael Bahlmann: "I don't think they'll stop at the almost 15% [level]".

He has issued a 'hold' note to Premiere shareholders.

  • Meantime, back in the canyons of Manhattan, two NewsCorp rivals - cable business news network CNBC and the New York Times Company have allied to form a defensive bulwark against NewsCorp's latest invasive moves.

    Both companies are under threat in the wake of the latter's $5bn purchase of Dow Jones and its flagship Wall Street Journal - and the launch last October of the Fox Business News Network.

    Although the Fox cub's average daily audience is a risible 6,300 - so low it fails to meet Nielsen Media Research's minimum measurement criteria, and a mere speck alongside CNBC's 283,000 - few believe this viewing imbalance will last for long.

    On Monday the two media allies announced a content-sharing agreement under which General Electric-owned CNBC will supply video content to NYTimes.com. In return the latter will make available its business and technology coverage.

    The concordat underscores the way in which the web is filling-in the traditional chasms between media formats, with newspapers now offering video on their websites and TV networks supplying editorial and analytical tools.

    Data sourced from Bloomberg.com (Germany) and Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff