News Corporation has acquired a 14.58 per cent stake in German pay-TV operator Premiere, in a E287 million cash deal, making it the company’s biggest single shareholder. The shares were acquired from Unitymedia, Germany’s second largest cable MSO, which took the holding in February 2007 as part of a deal which enabled Premiere to show top-flight Bundesliga football, for which Unitymedia held the rights.
The move marks News Corp's second investment in Premiere. BSkyB, which has News Corp as a 39 per cent shareholder, took a 24 per cent stake in the operator in 1999, but quit in 2002, as former owner Leo Kirch's media empire began to crumble. The failed investment cost some £1 billion