Premiere refinances debt

News Corp. stands behind rights issues

BERLIN — Germany’s biggest pay TV operator, Premiere, said Tuesday it will raise cash and refinance its debt with the help of its largest shareholder, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

News Corp. will stand behind two rights issues, worth a combined Euro 450 million ($628 million), allowing Premiere to renegotiate its debt —about Euro 320 million ($446 million) — with loans of Euro 525 million ($732 million), the company said in a statement.

Premiere said the investment by News Corp. is subject to conditions including the waiver of a mandatory requirement in Germany for a company to make a takeover offer if its stake rises above 30%. News Corp. holds a 25% stake in the Munich-based company.

Premiere has more than 4 million subscribers in Germany and Austria for its television and digital radio channels. It recently won a contract for the live broadcasting rights for all of Germany’s top soccer games for the next four seasons.

The company said it plans to generate more revenue by attracting a higher number of customers through a newly structured subscription system and more attractive programming.

Shares of Premiere were down 4% at Euro4 ($5.58) per share in midday trading Tuesday.

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