News Corp ups Sky Deutschland stake

News Corp is to increase its stake in German pay-TV provider Sky Deutschland from 39.96 per cent to 45.42 per cent via a Sky Deutschland share issue. News Corp will invest E110m aimed at its marketing and sales activities, including direct marketing to subscribers, and to expand its HD offer. The pay-TV provider plans to add four new HD channels to its line-up by mid-2010.

Sky Deutschland expects EBITDA for 2010 to be in the range of a loss of E130 million to E170 million. It is predicting operating cash-flow breakeven on a monthly basis in 2011 at a subscriber level of between 2.8 million and three million.

Meanwhile, Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, already one of the major investors in News Corp, is reportedly looking to strengthen his ties. Alwaleed reportedly met with Murdoch last week to discuss an agenda including a potential News Corp. investment in Alwaleed's Rotana Media Group, which includes a number of satellite channels. Alwaleed currently holds 5.7% of News Corp. shares, making him the second largest shareholder.

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