money digest


News talk good for Premiere

COLOGNE, Germany — Reports that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. plans to up its 19.9% stake in German pay TV group Premiere on Monday gave a boost to Premiere shares, which jumped 2.3% to €13.70 ($22) by late afternoon. 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. 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.

Weak spending a downer for ITV

UBS on Monday downgraded shares of U.K. broadcaster ITV, citing weak TV advertising spending growth. UBS now predicts an ITV1 ad decline of 4.2% this year, instead of the 1.9% previously forecast. It also cut its 2009 forecast and its rating to "sell."

Ubisoft ups '08 forecast

Ubisoft, Europe's largest video game maker, on Monday raised its financial forecasts for its fiscal year for the second time since January. For the fiscal year that ended Monday, Ubisoft said it expects to report revenue of €920 million ($1.5 billion), up from its previous guidance of €875 million. President and CEO Yves Guillemot said 2008 was shaping up to be a record year for the video game sector. "Our games have performed remarkably well in this context," he said.