MUNICH: Having quietly built a 22.7% stake in major German pay-TV group Premiere over the past three months, News Corporation now intends to raise that holding to between 25% and 26%.

This will effectively gives the savvy predator control of the company's policy and assets without the need (and cash depletion) of making a full takeover bid  - a classic Murdochian tactic.

Under German takeover law, a shareholder with a 30% stake must then bid for the remaining seventy percent of the company. Murdoch, as is his wont, remains comfortably short of that tipping-point while retaining room for further maneuver. 

Germany – Europe's largest and most prosperous economy – has until recently been the black hole in Murdoch's European TV universe.

Now Premiere is effectively corralled in the clan's stable, NewsCorp reportedly plans to  coordinate activities with its Sky Italia unit.

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