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Hughes offering stake and spin

Thu, 03/08/2001 - 7:00pm
Karen Kessler-Tanaka

Hughes Electronics ' Chairman Michael Smith is offering a stake and spin in the satellite company. WSJ.com reports Smith is opposed to News Corp. 's bid to acquire control of Hughes, so Smith has taken the bold move of approaching potential investors with the idea of taking a large stake in the company and then spinning it off. Companies that were reportedly approached include NBC television, SBC Communications and Microsoft.

WSJ.com also reports that this is the most obvious sign yet that News Corp. will fail in its takeover plans. The online service reports that Mr. Smith seems to want to find a situation that would infuse Hughes' parent General Motors with much needed cash while still allowing him to stay at the helm.

This is high-pressure for Smith. The General Motors board has given him three weeks to put together a new deal that satisfies the needs of the company. Hughes hopes to see a deal that would provide parent General Motors with at least $5 billion in cash, over a period of a year or more. The initial News Corp. proposal envisioned as much as $8 billion in cash going to General Motors.

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