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Liberty Media eyes News Corp's stake in DirecTV
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061012/media_nm/libertymedia_dc_1

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Liberty Media Corp. said on Thursday it may swap its stake in News Corp. for a controlling interest in DirecTV Group Inc., a move that would thrust cable pioneer John Malone into the satellite television arena.

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Malone, Liberty Media's chairman, has been in discussions with News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch over making a swap for Liberty Media's close-to-20-percent stake in News Corp. since Malone quietly snapped up shares in 2004.

That move had spurred Murdoch to raise defenses by enacting a poison pill to make a hostile takeover prohibitively expensive.

The two former associates, who have competed and have helped each other out over the past two decades, have been unable to resolve the matter. Both have said there is no rush.

"We were saying in the marketplace that we may exchange our roughly $11 billion stake in News Corp. for a controlling stake in DirecTV," Liberty President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei said at a Shop.org conference.

Media reports of talks involving DirecTV first appeared in September and were seen by Wall Street as a tacit admission by Murdoch that he no longer views U.S. satellite TV as a viable, competitive video and information service. Gaining control of DirecTV had been a hard-won deal to help him stitch together a global network of satellite TV distribution.

Publicly, Murdoch has continued to defend the U.S. satellite TV market despite a slowdown in subscriber growth.

Since last year's $580 million purchase of MySpace.com, a social network Web site popularized by teenagers, Murdoch has been talking up the Web, as he now believes Internet businesses will grow faster than cable networks and newspapers.

Last month, he sent his wife Wendi Deng to Beijing to launch a version of MySpace for the Chinese market, as part of plans to expand into 11 markets globally.

For Liberty, Maffei said a stake in DirecTV would help transform the company from a repository for Malone's past investments, which also include a big stake in Time Warner Inc., into a company defined by operating units such as the QVC shopping network.

News Corp.'s widely held class A shares rose 46 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $20.61 on the New York Stock Exchange. Liberty Interactive class A shares rose 3 cents to $21.06; Liberty Capital class A shares rose 70 cents to $87.35 on Nasdaq in late morning trade.

Reuters/VNU
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
tstarn said:
This has been around of course, but just what we need, more confusion. Is this good or bad for D* subs?
This seems to be "Liberty's" take on it..
The "older" articles seemed to have been from the DirecTV/Murdoch side of things
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Herdfan said:
Probably bad. We need Mark Cuban to buy D*.:)
Sorry.... Mark needs to use his money to buy the Cubs (Even though I am White Sox fan, is a terrible to see a professional team play worse then a lot of college teams)

:)
 

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11/6/2006 5:42:00 PM

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said talks between his company and News Corp. on a potential swamp of the former's stake in the latter for assets owned by News Corp. are progressing, AP reported ( www.multichannel.com/article/CA6383582.html ).

Maffei told analysts during a conference call that Liberty remains interested in acquiring News Corp.'s 38% stake in direct-broadcast satellite provider DirecTV Group or another asset on a tax-efficient basis, according to AP.

"While I'm not sure where our negotiations with News will take us, one of the elements of a DirecTV deal that is appealing is the flexibility we would have," he said on the call, AP reported.

Also on the call, Liberty reported results for its Liberty Interactive unit, which includes QVC and other interactive businesses, AP reported, adding that Liberty Interactive revenue rose 15% and operating cash flow was up 20% on the back of strong results at QVC, which reported a 12% increase in revenue to $1.65 billion.

At the company's Starz Entertainment programming unit, revenue of $253 million was up 3% versus the year-ago quarter, which Liberty attributed to an increase in the average number of subscription units for services, and operating income rose to $40 million from $35 million, while operating costs rose 5% due to higher programming expenses, AP reported.

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( Source: http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6388797.html )
 

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Darkman said:
11/6/2006 5:42:00 PM

Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said talks between his company and News Corp. on a potential swamp of the former's stake in the latter for assets owned by News Corp. are progressing, AP reported ( www.multichannel.com/article/CA6383582.html ).

Maffei told analysts during a conference call that Liberty remains interested in acquiring News Corp.'s 38% stake in direct-broadcast satellite provider DirecTV Group or another asset on a tax-efficient basis, according to AP.

"While I'm not sure where our negotiations with News will take us, one of the elements of a DirecTV deal that is appealing is the flexibility we would have," he said on the call, AP reported.

Also on the call, Liberty reported results for its Liberty Interactive unit, which includes QVC and other interactive businesses, AP reported, adding that Liberty Interactive revenue rose 15% and operating cash flow was up 20% on the back of strong results at QVC, which reported a 12% increase in revenue to $1.65 billion.

At the company's Starz Entertainment programming unit, revenue of $253 million was up 3% versus the year-ago quarter, which Liberty attributed to an increase in the average number of subscription units for services, and operating income rose to $40 million from $35 million, while operating costs rose 5% due to higher programming expenses, AP reported.

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( Source: http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6388797.html )
I have no love for Rupert and News Corp...but the last thing I want to see is John Malone in charge of things. :nono2:
 

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bwaldron said:
I have no love for Rupert and News Corp...but the last thing I want to see is John Malone in charge of things.
I don't see how he could make it worse! What could he do? Make HD Lite permanent? 10 Mbps instead of 12 or 13? Reduce the number of national HD channels from 7 to 5? Delay HD locals even more? Tell me, in addition to LA, now I can't even have NY DNS in HD, but can receive it in more fuzzy SD? Give us 2 or 3 more home shopping channels? Move all CSR's to Calcutta?

This really isn't a rant, just a statement of my disappointment with D* for the last couple of years.
 

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bwaldron said:
I have no love for Rupert and News Corp...but the last thing I want to see is John Malone in charge of things. :nono2:
Just curious, what is your rationale for that statement? I'm not familiar with John Malone.

Could he possibly be worse than Rupert?
 

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Kapeman said:
Just curious, what is your rationale for that statement? I'm not familiar with John Malone.

Could he possibly be worse than Rupert?
Yeah, he surely could. Ask anyone who was a TCI subscriber. Ever-increasing fees and lack of investment in technology. Milked all he could out of the company until he could sell out to AT&T.

He might be good if you're interested in D* as an investor. He is unlikely to be good for the customers.

Plenty of info out on the web on Malone & TCI if you're interested in googling.

D* under NewsCorp hasn't been the same as they were under previous ownership, but things could definitely be worse under Malone.
 

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Bill Johnson said:
I don't see how he could make it worse! What could he do? Make HD Lite permanent? 10 Mbps instead of 12 or 13? Reduce the number of national HD channels from 7 to 5? Delay HD locals even more? Tell me, in addition to LA, now I can't even have NY DNS in HD, but can receive it in more fuzzy SD? Give us 2 or 3 more home shopping channels? Move all CSR's to Calcutta?

This really isn't a rant, just a statement of my disappointment with D* for the last couple of years.
Sure, all that and more. And you'd definitely pay more for the privilege of being abused.

I am not happy with D* these days, but John Malone is highly unlikely to be a savior for customers. He is a maximum revenue for minimal service kinda guy, much moreso than even Rupert.
 

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By Mike Farrell
11/9/2006 1:49:00 PM

News Corp. is in "constructive" negotiations with Liberty Media regarding the former's 38% interest in DirecTV Group, chief operating officer Peter Chernin said on a conference call with analysts and reporters Wednesday night.

News Corp. has been in talks for months regarding swapping its stake in DirecTV for the 19% News Corp. voting stake owned by Liberty. Earlier this week, Liberty CEO Gregg Maffei said negotiations were progressing.

In a conference call with analysts and reporters discussing its fiscal-first-quarter results, Chernin said that while there is no hurry to do a deal, talks are moving forward....

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( The entire article is at the following source: http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6389794.html )
 

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The Times November 16, 2006

News Corp set to lose DirecTV in split from Liberty

By Dan Sabbagh

NEWS CORPORATION, the parent company of The Times, is hoping to reach a separation agreement with Liberty Media, its second-largest shareholder, by the end of the year.

Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive, told shareholders in Adelaide yesterday that an agreement with Liberty looked "very likely". Any deal is likely to involve News Corp releasing its 37 per cent stake in the American satellite operator DirecTV.

An agreement with Liberty would also involve News Corp dropping its controversial poison pill defence against takeover. Mr Murdoch said that "if we settle the Liberty situation . . . we will probably just drop" the special protection.

In the expected deal Liberty would contribute its 19 per cent voting shareholding in News Corp into a joint venture, which would also include the DirecTV stake. That venture subsequently would be dissolved, with both sides swapping the assets.

Meanwhile, Mr Murdoch would be left in firm control of the media giant's voting stock. His existing stake is at 31 per cent, and he makes no secret of the fact that retaining family control of the business is important to him.

News Corp's likely retreat from DirecTV is surprising, after the battle it fought with EchoStar to buy the largest satellite broadcaster in the United States. However, it is concerned about the expense of providing DirecTV's mainly rural customers with a broadband link to supply interactive services.

Mr Murdoch was speaking at a special shareholder meeting in the city where News Corp was founded. Although the company moved its listing to the United States, he promised investors he would return annually to update in person.

He hinted that News Corp was willing to sell four or five American television stations and indicated that newspaper advertising in Britain may improve slightly in the current financial year. He added that the group's newspapers worldwide would "do as well as last year, and may look even better in England". News Corp owns The Sun, The Sunday Times and the News of the World, as well as The Times in Britain.

Last week, News Corp unveiled profits of $843 million (£446 million) in the quarter to September.

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( Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5-2455498,00.html#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=Business )
 

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Darkman said:
The Times November 16, 2006

News Corp set to lose DirecTV in split from Liberty

By Dan Sabbagh

NEWS CORPORATION, the parent company of The Times, is hoping to reach a separation agreement with Liberty Media, its second-largest shareholder, by the end of the year.

Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive, told shareholders in Adelaide yesterday that an agreement with Liberty looked "very likely". Any deal is likely to involve News Corp releasing its 37 per cent stake in the American satellite operator DirecTV.

An agreement with Liberty would also involve News Corp dropping its controversial poison pill defence against takeover. Mr Murdoch said that "if we settle the Liberty situation . . . we will probably just drop" the special protection.

In the expected deal Liberty would contribute its 19 per cent voting shareholding in News Corp into a joint venture, which would also include the DirecTV stake. That venture subsequently would be dissolved, with both sides swapping the assets.

Meanwhile, Mr Murdoch would be left in firm control of the media giant's voting stock. His existing stake is at 31 per cent, and he makes no secret of the fact that retaining family control of the business is important to him.

News Corp's likely retreat from DirecTV is surprising, after the battle it fought with EchoStar to buy the largest satellite broadcaster in the United States. However, it is concerned about the expense of providing DirecTV's mainly rural customers with a broadband link to supply interactive services.

Mr Murdoch was speaking at a special shareholder meeting in the city where News Corp was founded. Although the company moved its listing to the United States, he promised investors he would return annually to update in person.

He hinted that News Corp was willing to sell four or five American television stations and indicated that newspaper advertising in Britain may improve slightly in the current financial year. He added that the group's newspapers worldwide would "do as well as last year, and may look even better in England". News Corp owns The Sun, The Sunday Times and the News of the World, as well as The Times in Britain.

Last week, News Corp unveiled profits of $843 million (£446 million) in the quarter to September.

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( Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,5-2455498,00.html#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=Business )
Here is article from businessweek http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8LDIVAG0.htm
 

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I guess one of my questions would be, is video on demand that important?

Does anyone (or enough people to make it a serious business concern) say, "the number one issue for me in choosing a service provider is VOD." ?

When placed in perspective with amount/quality of programming, quality of signal and the DVR option, I don't see VOD as anywhere near a driving factor.

Think about it, the rural areas that they are concerned about reaching via broadband are the areas least likely to have real competition from cable, if cable even services their area.
Cable is not an option for me and I live in DMA number 40!

Many people that live in rural areas, and I have been one of them, realize that they are not going to get the same options that urban dwellers have and they are okay with that.

The article actually says "interactive features", but I use VOD as an example because it the one feature most touted in the war between cable and DBS.

I still ask, how are interactive features that important? Or is that just the excuse given as an out?
 

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I think the interest in VOD is more industry generated than consumer generated. I've never had it available but many of my family members do have VOD with their cable carriers. I've ask how often they use it and most have never used it. Others replied "once". But in their marketing campaigns cable cos list this as a feature SAT doesn't have. I'd like to see a stat on what percentage of home with VOD available actually use it regularly.

You have PPVs and a DVR that can record "up to 100 hours". That's all the VOD I need. Although I would have liked to record all Star Wars episodes in HD. Oh well.
 

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Wolffpack said:
I think the interest in VOD is more industry generated than consumer generated. I've never had it available but many of my family members do have VOD with their cable carriers. I've ask how often they use it and most have never used it. Others replied "once". But in their marketing campaigns cable cos list this as a feature SAT doesn't have. I'd like to see a stat on what percentage of home with VOD available actually use it regularly.

You have PPVs and a DVR that can record "up to 100 hours". That's all the VOD I need. Although I would have liked to record all Star Wars episodes in HD. Oh well.
I here ya! My brother has VOD and the only time he really used it was to showcase it to me. He aso confessed to never really using it regularly, if at all. I think the DVR function is more than sufficiant!;)
 

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I could not agree more, VOD is definitely industry driven, as previously mentioned.
Why? Because there is a potential charge for each use.

I gather from my time on these boards that the #1 concern is HD content, in one form or another (sports, events, locals, movies, etc), but there is also a lot of unwillingness to pay extra for the extra content. So, the industry may be looking at this as a less lucrative option.
 

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interesting, this is the same Liberty that's trying to purchase the Atlanta Braves from Time/Warner. Which I can assure you they'll dump after 2 years for a tax benefit if it happens.
 

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The way I see it, VOD and broadband are just the excuse given by Murdoch to execute a plan he had in mind all along. Before Murdoch acquired D* everyone was talking of how he was willing to spend money to dominate the market citing Sky as an example. That never happened. The only thing Murdoch did was to make D* more profitable (for real or with accounting changes, doesn't matter) and push its value up. That's a plan for trying to make quick money, not to dominate the market. He bought it's share of D* at $14/share and now it's worth $21.5/share; over 50% gain in little more than 3 years is not bad and he could walk out with more if Liberty is giving up its $11 billion stake in Newcorp.
Just my 2 cents.
 
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