Sky Deutschland has raised €155.8 million in a share sale to load up for the auction for key rights to top-flight soccer, its main draw for subscribers. The company placed about 70.8 million new shares at €2.20 each, with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp taking up about half of the new shares to keep its stake in Sky Deutschland stable at 49.9 percent.
This is the first step in plans announced last week to raise €300 million this year. The rest will come from a rights offering, another private placement, a shareholder loan or a convertible bond offering by the end of September.
Loss-making Sky Deutschland needs to raise money to bid for rights to broadcast Bundesliga soccer matches for another four seasons from 2013/14, which are going up for auction in April.
German soccer league DFL said that 45 companies have registered to bid in the auction, which is tipped to fetch a record €450 million a season.
Sky Deutschland currently holds rights to show matches on cable TV for which it pays €250 million a season.
“The capital measure will help to secure the inevitable financial firepower to bid for the crucial Pay-TV-Bundesliga-Soccer rights within the upcoming auction process against other interested competitors,” DZ Bank analyst Harald Heider said.
The auction might pit Sky Deutschland against Deutsche Telekom, which has said it will consider bidding for rights to show Bundesliga matches via satellite. Sky needs those rights as it reaches about half of its customers via satellite.