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Murdoch beaming in

Wed, 09/27/2000 - 8:00pm
Karen Kessler

A $6 billion stock swap this week between old chums John Malone of Liberty Media and News Corp's Rupert Murdoch could give News Corp. its first step toward a targeted takeover of DirecTV.

There are many goals involved with the stock swap, but the immediate impact gives Murdoch an opportunity to fire off a bid for DirecTV, according to industry analysts.

The trade of assets creates a stronger Sky Global, News Corp.'s satellite-TV unit, which could put News Corp. in a position to acquire DirecTV, the direct broadcast satellite company owned by General Motors Corp.'s Hughes Electronics.

Gemstar-TV Guide, digital TV electronic programming guide, could make Sky Global more attractive to investors when Sky Global issues its stock IPO before the end of the year. The increased value of that stock would make it possible for Murdoch to engineer an acquisition of DirecTV, which Hughes has alluded it might spin off within the next year, according to analysts.

Murdoch has been trying for three years to gain a foothold in the North American satellite TV market, in hopes of complementing his Sky Global Network. Sky Global is the world's largest satellite-TV company, with operations covering Europe, Asia and Latin America.

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