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Murdoch owns majority of German Sky

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Photo: DPA
15:54 CET+01:00
Australian-American media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has secured a majority stake in Sky Deutschland, the paid-for television broadcaster which has the rights to the Bundesliga's top-flight German football matches.

The 81-year-old spent nearly €400 million to increase his News Corp media empire's share from just under 50 percent to 54.5 percent Sky announced on Monday.

As the Handelsblatt newspaper reported, Murdoch's News Corp bought up 15 percent of Sky Deutschland at the start of 2008 before scaling that up.

"Our new long-term financial structure now gives us the possibility and the room to further develop Sky as a businss and to implement our strategy," said Brian Sullivan on Monday.

Last year he secured the rights to the Bundesliga, for nearly €2 billion, pushing out Deutsche Telekom - although Sky has since done a deal with Telekom so that its customers can get access to the games.

The Handelsblatt said the Murdoch majority takeover was not unexpected - and was being taken by the industry as a demonstration of his belief in the future of German pay-TV.

Insiders had speculated that Murdoch would take this step ever since last November when the Munich Finance Office decided that a tax credit worth billions of euros would not be invalidated if he increased his share.

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Sky Deutschland has made a loss almost since it was launched, but is now making progress towards the black, the Handelsblatt said.

The Local/hc

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