News Corp wants all of Premiere

News Corp wants to fully acquire German pay-TV operator Premiere. The international media company’s chair Rupert Murdoch said during the presentation of the latest quarterly figures that he is interested in increasing News’s stake from 25.1% to 100%.

Although Murdoch did not disclose further details, the framework for this move has recently been set: News Corp received the green light from Germany’s federal stock market supervisory authority BaFin to raise its stake in Premiere through a capital increase to more than 30% without being required to submit a compulsory take-over offer to other shareholders.

The exemption from the stock market rule was granted as BaFin considers the ailing broadcaster to be in serious need of complete restructuring as it would otherwise risk insolvency. The waiver means that the increase of its Premiere stake will cost News Corp considerably less than it would have under regular proceedings.

After months of speculation that the company might purchase further shares, Premiere’s stock market value increased, which would have made a mandatory take-over offer much more expensive.

News Corp’s results late last week shocked the market. Even without the US$8.4 billion writedown the company took on the value of assets including Dow Jones and US broadcasting licences, results still missed most forecasts. The company’s loss for its second quarter (ended Dec 2008) was US$6.41 billion, compared with a US$832 million profit a year before.

Revenues across the group were down 8.4% to US$7.87 billion. Forecasts had pegged revenues at around US$8.35 million.

News Corp now expects operating income to fall 30% for the full year, to US$3.5 billion.