BSkyB Partners Agree To New Finance Plan

The major shareholders in loss-making satellite tv service BSkyB have agreed to a £200 million ($340 million) financial package that should carry it through to breakeven, now expected in 1993.

Reed Intl., which owns VARIETY, last week decided not to participate in the new round of financing, thus reducing its share in the venture from 10% to 3.7%. London-based conglomerate Pearson and French communications company Chargeurs have taken up the shortfall, increasing their 12% stakes to 16% and 15.9%, respectively.

Entertainment and leisure company Granada, which operates the commercial tv franchise in the northwest of England, has maintained its stake in the company at about 12%.

News Corp., which owns 50% of the venture, has come up with its share of the financing partly in cash and partly in film and program rights.

The refinancing brings the total invested in BSkyB, formed by last year’s merger of British Satellite Broadcasting and Sky TV to £1.4 billion ($2.38 billion). Insiders say the company, which has seen massive staff cuts and overhead reductions, is losing £2 million ($3.4 million) a week. With the addition of financing costs, however, the figure could be twice as high. At the end of last year, the company was losing about £10 million ($17 million) a week.

It is believed that the company would have run out of cash by the end of this week if the new financing had not been forthcoming.

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