Murdoch's interest boosts Premiere shares

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COLOGNE, Germany -- Reports that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is planning to up its 19.9% stake in German pay TV group Premiere gave a boost to Premiere shares, which jumped 2.3% to 13.7 euros ($22) by late afternoon Monday.

An article in German news weekly Der Spiegel said that Murdoch was looking to boost his Premiere stake to at least 23% in the coming weeks but would stay below the 30% mark, above which News Corp. would be required to make a buyout offer to remaining Premiere shareholders.

Premiere and News Corp. have declined comment, but the news was sufficient to keep Premiere stock rising against the overall downward trend in German markets.

Investors are betting more Murdoch will mean a clearer strategy from Premiere, which has struggled to hold on to key sports rights and has revenue per subscriber levels well below those seen in pay TV markets in the U.K., France or Italy.
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