Berlin -- They weren't surprised, but some German
media-market observers were at least skeptical of word that News Corp. has expressed an
interest in Deutsche Telekom A.G.'s cable systems -- a move that would give company
chairman Rupert Murdoch a huge distribution platform in Europe's largest media market.
"I don't believe Murdoch has a chance. There is too
much politics involved," said an international media lawyer here.
Strategically, it would make a lot of sense for Murdoch to
buy into German cable, enabling him to expand his own pay TV plans for Germany, which have
been limited so far by the bottleneck in both analog and digital cable.
German news reports said Murdoch spoke with Deutsche
Telekom chairman Ron Sommer some months ago to convince him to take News Corp. on as a
partner in the cable systems.
However, German banks have emerged as some of the biggest
bidders on the systems, and they're expected to do well.
Deutsche Telekom has divided its huge cable system into
nine regional companies in which it intends to retain 25 percent stakes.
In a speech here last week at the International Broadcast
Exhibition, Deutsche Telekom board member Gerd Tenzer declined to comment on any bids for
the cable systems.
"Some of the offers we receive convince us that some
of the companies interested in our systems understand" their value, he said.