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Announcement:

Moody's says News Corp.'s loan backstop to Sky Deutschland has positive credit implications, but not material enough to impact credit ratings

02 Feb 2012

New York, February 02, 2012 -- Moody's Investors Service said that News Corporation's ("News Corp") Baa1 senior unsecured debt ratings are not affected by the company's announcement that it has entered into an agreement to backstop €300 million of financing measures by Sky Deutschland AG ("Sky Deutschland"), a pay TV operator in Germany and Austria. News Corp currently holds a 49.9% ownership stake in Sky Deutschland, and can increase its stake without being required to offer to purchase the remaining interests. News Corp. also funded financing for Sky Deutschland in fiscal 2011, and has full or meaningful ownership stakes in Sky Italia, British Sky Broadcasting (which it tried but failed to acquire full ownership in 2011) and Star India. In our view, this demonstrates a significant commitment to the global satellite direct-to-home pay TV industry, and we believe that Sky Deutschland has the potential to become a core asset for News Corp in the future.

The development has positive credit implications for News Corp., though presently is not material enough to pressure its Baa1 rating upward. We believe its ownership in Sky Deutschland has great value, with its strong growth potential and Germany being one of the largest and strongest European economies. If News Corp. were to increase its ownership in the company even slightly (crossing 50%), it would be consolidated within the company from an accounting perspective only. If it were to fully acquire the company and have access to its cash flows when it generates positive cash flow as expected in the intermediate-term, it would slightly improve News Corp's geographic diversity and reduce its exposure to economic cyclicality since the pay TV business derives much of its revenues from significantly less cyclical consumer pay television subscriber fees. From a bondholders perspective, News Corp.'s investments in Sky Deutschland is also a better use of its cash (with over $11 billion at 9/30/2011), since it will be using cash to invest in revenue generating and growing assets as opposed to using it strictly for share repurchases and dividends.

The financing may be raised through a number of measures, including a rights offering, a private placement or a convertible bond to its existing shareholders on a pro-rata basis, and/or a 2-year loan from News Corp., and to the extent that Sky Deutschland is unable to raise a total of €300 million from its investors, News Corp will fund the remaining amount. The financing is expected to occur in two phases, €100 million by March 31, 2012 and €200 million by September 30, 2012. Proceeds are anticipated to help fund working capital needs associated with the company's growth. News Corp.'s rating outlook is stable.

For further information please see the issuer comment posted to www.moodys.com.

The principal methodology used in rating this issuer was Large Global Diversified Media Industry, published in December 2010.

News Corporation, with its headquarters in New York, is one of the world's largest media companies with revenues of almost $34 billion from a diverse portfolio of businesses.

Neil Begley
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

John Diaz
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's says News Corp.'s loan backstop to Sky Deutschland has positive credit implications, but not material enough to impact credit ratings
No Related Data.
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