Rupert Murdoch Seeks Waiver From German Government To Increase TV Stake

01/24/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Gerrit Wiesmann Financial Times

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp could raise its stake in Germany's Premiere from a quarter to between 40 and 70 per cent after pledging to act as a buyer of last resort in a two-stage rights issue being planned by the pay-television group by June.

But Mark Williams, the head of Premiere and a former Murdoch executive, said News Corp would only back the refinancing if Bafin, the German market regulator, waived rules demanding a full takeover offer when an investor's stake tops 30 per cent.

He said a Bafin waiver was "critical" for the survival of the troubled channel as it would not be able to raise a much needed €450m ($629m) in equity - and banks would cancel new credit lines worth €525m - were News Corp to withdraw its pledge.

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