Rurpert Murdoch has appointed News Corp. veteran Tom Mockridge as CEO of Stream, Italy's struggling pay-TV outfit. He replaces Marty Pompadur and joins Enrico Bondi, Telecom Italia's CEO, the two being recently appointed respectively interim CEO and president of Stream. They replaced Lucia Morselli and Renato Cassaro.

The moves come as Rupert Murdoch continues his quest to become Italy's sole pay-TV operator, which would also represent News Corp's first major foothold in continental Europe.

Murdoch currently owns 50% of Stream, and will head a group of investors who are attempting to buy Stream's rival, the Vivendi Universal-owned Telepiu.

The media mogul is still waiting for the Euros 1.5bn deal to get Italian antitrust approval. Nevertheless, observers are fairly optimistic about the outcome of the deal, as Murdoch has already said he will accept the harsh conditions imposed by Italy's watchdog on Vivendi this spring, which caused Jean-Marie Messier to back out of his own deal to buy Stream.

But Murdoch still needs to find an Italian partner to share the financial risk and make the deal more palatable to regulators. Potential investors include publishing empire HdP/Rizzoli Corriere della Sera, and multimedia giant De Agostini.