Murdoch’s European march

Mogul expanding further into Italy's mobile TV business

Apparently Rupert Murdoch is not just obsessed with his online ventures in the U.S. His News Corp. has lately been on a tear in Europe, first picking off a sizable chunk of commercial network ITV in the U.K. and last week sniffing around Spain’s commercial web Antena 3.

In Italy, too, the mogul is expanding further into that country’s buoyant mobile TV biz, striking a deal with Vodafone to bring two SkyItalia digital channels to subscribers of the mobile giant’s handheld devices. Shows to be modified for the cell phones include Fox’s own “24” and “Family Guy.”

The only country where Murdoch has yet to make a substantial splash is Germany, where he inexplicably failed three years ago to make a run for ProSiebenSat 1. But rival titan Haim Saban did — and has just cashed out to equity firms KKR and Permira for a cool fourfold increase in the Teutonic station group’s share price.

Even Rupe’s daughter Elisabeth Murdoch is on the prowl; she just plopped down $125 million to snap up three hot production houses in the U.K.