News Corp.'s Sky Deutschland Posts Smaller 2012 Loss, Adds Subscribers

1:55 AM PST 01/21/2013 by Scott Roxborough

Rupert Murdoch's conglomerate will further increase its stake in the German pay TV group, which ended the year with 3.36 million subscribers.

COLOGNE, Germany -- Sky Deutschland, the long-suffering German pay TV group now controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., is inching closer to breaking even.

The company on Monday posted full-year 2012 financials that showed its loss decline sharply amid double-digit subscriber growth.

Sky Deutschland also said it would issue another 20.4 million new shares to existing shareholders, starting Tuesday, which will raise up to $121 million (€91 million) in capital for the Munich-based group. The issue will allow existing shareholders to buy up new Sky Deutschland stock at the ratio of one share for every 42 shares already held.

News Adelaide Holdings, the News Corp. subsidiary that after a recent agreement controls 54.5 percent of Sky Deutschland, said it will exercise all its subscription rights to further boost its stake in the company.

Preliminary numbers released by Sky Deutschland said the company expects a full-year operating loss of $64 million-$77 million (€48 million-€58 million). That compares to a $200 million (€155 million) operating loss in 2011.

Key to the company's improved performance has been the slow but steady growth in subscriber figures. Sky Deutschland now boasts 3.36 million subscribers, an increase of 11.7 percent over the full year.

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