Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is set to buy out the last remaining minority shareholder of Sky Italia and assume full control of the satellite broadcaster.

It is believed to have agreed to pay Telecom Italia €60 million ($73m; £41m) for its 19.9% stake, as the Italian group endeavours to shake off its €33.2bn debt by the end of the year.

Sky Italia was formed two years ago from the merger of NewsCorp's pay-TV platform Stream and satellite company Telepiù [WAMN: 3-Oct-02].

Although suffering €300m operating losses last year, Sky Italia hopes to boost its fortunes by focusing on new channels, anti-piracy measures and new film and sports packages. Subscription numbers are predicted to reach 3m by the end of 2004, up from last year's 2.2m

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff