Europeans partner to market pay television

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Teaming up seems to be the strategy of choice when it comes to the Euro pay TV game.

Rupert Murdoch and Italian Prime Minister/media mogul Silvio Berlusconi are now partners in Germany's Premiere pay TV service after Berlusconi's Fininvest holding company acquired a 3.1% stake in Premiere, a deal first made public Monday.

A few countries over, Spain's Telefonica and French media giant Vivendi reportedly are mulling a possible joint bid for Digital Plus, the satellite pay TV business being sold by Spanish media group Prisa to pay off debt.

Berlusconi and Murdoch initially were in the running for Digital Plus, but News Corp.'s British pay operator British Sky Broadcasting has since pulled out of the bidding, and interest from Berlusconi's Mediaset appears to have waned.

Digital Plus is arguably a better fit for Telefonica, which hopes to add the group's 2 million satellite subscribers to those of its own broadband pay TV service, Imagenio. A joint bid with Vivendi could help appease European antitrust authorities. (partialdiff)
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