Premiere to rebrand as Sky Deutschland

German pay TV operator to relaunch this summer

COLOGNE, Germany – News Corp. is looking to ditch the Premiere tag and rebrand its German pay TV platform Sky Deutschland, sources near Premiere said Friday.

The name-change, planned for the platform's much-ballyhooed relaunch this summer, would bring Premiere further into the News Corp. fold. The company's U.K. and Italian operations already go under the Sky brand. News Corp. is the largest single shareholder in Premiere, with a 30.5% stake.

Premiere is one of the best-known TV brands in Germany. The pay TV operation has born the moniker since its launch in 1991. But the company's troubled history has tarnished the name. CEO Mark Williams apparently hopes rebranding will help in his efforts to restructure the operation and return the German money pit to profit. Premiere came close to collapse last year after booking a net loss of €269 million ($360 million).

Premiere has so far declined comment on the name change but an official announcement is expected next week.