News Corp. increasing Sky Deutschland stake

German pay TV group shares rise on news

COLOGNE, Germany -- News Corp. is stocking up on shares in Sky Deutschland, increasing its stake in the German pay TV group from just under 40% to 45.4% in a deal announced Monday.

The agreement will see News Corp. subsidiary News Adelaide Holdings pay between €110 million - €120 million ($157 million - $172 million) for up to 49 million new Sky Deutschland shares. CEO Mark Williams said the fresh cash will be ploughed into sales and marketing efforts in Germany as well as for programming acquisition and Sky's national HD-TV roll out.

Sky Deutschland is forecasting an operating (EBITDA) loss of up to €265 million ($380 million) for the year. Net subscriber figures are expected to grow slightly, to between 2.47 million – 2.5 million households. Sky still expects to first break even in 2011 with between 2.8 million – 3 million subscribers.

Sky Deutschland shares, which have been in steady decline for months, shot up some 12% on the news. The stock, however, remains near historic lows.
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