Sky Deutschland AG, the German pay-TV provider controlled by News Corp., fell after a magazine reported that the company plans to replace Supervisory Board Chairman Chase Carey with James Murdoch before the end of 2013.
Murdoch, the 40-year-old son and heir apparent of billionaire and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, will work with Sky Chief Executive Officer Brian Sullivan, with whom he has a close relationship, Manager Magazin reported today, citing people within the company without naming them. Sky’s shares fell as much as 2.7 percent to 4.93 euros and were down 2.6 percent as of 2:05 p.m. in Frankfurt today, valuing the broadcaster at about 4.3 billion euros ($5.7 billion).
For James Murdoch, who joined Sky’s supervisory board in April, the role of its chairman would provide a new opportunity to play a successful role in Europe. His reputation was damaged in a phone-hacking scandal in the U.K., where he is a board member of British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc. Carey, the 59-year-old chief operating officer of News Corp, has been Sky’s chairman since July 2010.
Sky, based near Munich, boosted subscriber numbers to 3.41 million in the first quarter, and this year targets its first operating profit since News Corp. began investing in the company more than five years ago. News Corp. boosted its stake beyond 49.9 percent in January after German tax authorities signaled that Sky would be able to retain previous tax losses in case of an ownership change.
Miranda Higham, a spokeswoman for News Corp., declined to comment on Murdoch’s position at Sky Deutschland. Julia Buchmaier, a spokeswoman for the German company, also declined to comment.