TOKYO — Matsushita Electric Industry Co. is seeking greater participation in the European direct satellite broadcast business and has been in talks with a variety of platform providers, a spokeswoman said today.Matsushita has had discussions with Rupert Murdoch’s British Sky Broadcasting. Matsushita’s rival Sony is expected to become an equal equity partner in the Japanese satellite broadcaster JSkyB along with Murdoch’s News Corp. and Japanese software house Softbank.Matsushita already has a 10% stake in DirecTV Japan. The Hughes Electronics Corp. service is scheduled to debut toward the end of 1997 with a 100-channel platform. JSkyB is expected to begin full-scale operation in the spring of 1998. The spokeswoman said the talks have not gone as far as placing Matsushita in a deal where it would acquire an equity stake in a satellite broadcaster, but Matsushita is interested in expanding its presence in the European market. The media and electronics giant certainly would want to gain a European foothold for its TV hardware.
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