Liberty speeds News Corp. stock swap bid
The corporate boxing match between John Malone's Liberty Media International Inc. and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. continues, with reports that Liberty is planning to speed up a stock swap that would boost Malone's voting stake in Murdoch's multimedia empire to 18 percent.
Liberty announced the stock swap in November, with plans to close the deal in April. Murdoch was reportedly not pleased with the prospect of an outside owner with such a significant stake in the company, and News Corp. responded by initiating a "poison pill" provision limiting Malone's total stock accumulation to no more than 18 percent.
Reports this week in The Denver Post and The New York Times, among others, indicate Liberty now wants to close the action in January. Many analysts believe accelerating the move may be a ploy to force Murdoch to trade News Corp. shares for voting shares in Liberty.