Chase Carey could take over Sky Deutschland

Rupert Murdoch eyeing solutions for pay TV group

BERLIN -- Rupert Murdoch is set to fly in his No. 2, News Corp. president and deputy chairman Chase Carey, to sort things out at struggling German pay TV group Sky Deutschland.

News Corp. has confirmed Carey is a candidate to take over as chairman of Sky when the company's current chairman, Markus Tellenbach, steps down this year. Sky Deutschland and Tellenbach both declined comment Friday.

Sending in Carey would be a clear sign that Murdoch is serious about fixing Sky and making pay TV work in Germany. News Corp. holds a 45.4% stake in Sky Deutschland but the German operation has proved a money pit. Analysts estimate James Murdoch, head of News Corp. Europe, has invested nearly $1 billion buying into German pay TV.

Things got even worse this week when telco giant Deutsche Telekom announced it plans to knock Sky out of top spot and become the biggest force in German pay TV within three years.

Sky has been pouring money into advertising but so far has not won over many Germans to its service. At the end of last year, Sky had fewer than 2.5 million direct subscribers in Germany, well below the level it needs to be profitable.

Deutsche Telekom has 1.1 million subscribers for its Internet-based pay service Entertain, a figure Telekom says it will triple by 2012.
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