Sky Deutschland names James Murdoch to board
03/08/2013| 10:22am US/Eastern
Sky Deutschland wants to appoint News Corp's James Murdoch to its supervisory board, as the media conglomerate tightens its grip on the German pay-TV broadcaster.
In the invitation to its shareholders meeting on April 18, Sky Deutschland said it would nominate James Murdoch, who is News Corp's Deputy Chief Operating Of?cer and son of media magnate Rupert Murdoch.
News Corp began building a stake in Sky Deutschland, formerly known as Premiere, in 2008. Following Sky Deutschland's capital hike earlier this year, News Corp holds 54.8 percent.
News Corp has participated in several rights issues of the broadcaster and Sky Deutschland's current chief executive Brian Sullivan took the helm in 2010 after around 14 years at Britain's biggest pay-TV company BSkyB.
A person familiar with the company said on Friday Sky Deutschland expects to benefit from Murdoch's knowledge of international markets and new technologies.
"He will play an active role in the company but has no ambition to become chairman of the board," the person added.
James Murdoch in November was re-elected to the board of BSkyB.
He was forced to quit as BSkyB's chairman in April last year over his role in the phone hacking scandal at News Corp.
James Murdoch, who also managed the now-defunct News of the World, the newspaper at the centre of the scandal, was criticised by parliament and regulators in Britain for failing to get to the bottom of wrongdoing by journalists.
In June, News Corp announced it would separate its publishing and entertainment assets in a process likely to occur by early summer.
Sky Deutschland expects to be profitable this year on a operating (EBITDA) level as it hopes to attract new subscribers after it secured the exclusive Bundesliga football rights last year.
Last year it posted an EBITDA loss of 51 million euros ($67 million), about a third of the 155.5 million it lost in the previous year.
Sky Deutschland shares were down 1.7 percent at 1445 GMT, underperforming a 0.6 percent stronger media index. ($1 = 0.7644 euros)
(Reporting by Joern Poltz and Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Ludwig Burger and David Cowell)