Premiere shares soar on soccer deal reports

Unconfirmed reports it secured Bundesliga rights

COLOGNE, Germany -- Stock in Premiere has soared on unconfirmed reports the pay TV group has secured the rights to Germany’s Bundesliga soccer.

Premiere shares jumped more than 40% in trading Thursday (Nov 27) as investors took the news as a sign the long-suffering company was on the road to recovery. At under 5 euros ($6.50) a share, however, the stock is still worth less than half of what it was in September.

According to German media reports, Premiere and public broadcaster ARD have re-upped with the German Soccer League (DFL) for Bundesliga rights. The DFL is expected to make the announcement Friday.

Sources close to the deal told THR that Premiere will pay less than it does under its current contract, which values the Bundesliga rights at 409 million euros ($527 million) a season.

“Securing the rights will provide a platform for management to drive penetration...and improved visibility will help Premiere to renegotiate its debt,” wrote UBS analyst Daniel Kerven in a report Thursday. “If Premiere can acquire the football rights at an attractive price and then renegotiate its debt then we see scope for the stock to double, and double again.”

News Corp. is Premiere’s largest single shareholder, with a 25% stake. Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest group holds around 3% of the company. Premiere declined comment.
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