News Corp. Launches $3 Billion Stock Buyback

Jun 13, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. said Monday it is launching a stock buyback program for up to $3 billion worth of shares, a move that has analysts wondering whether negotiations to buy back Liberty Media’s 18 percent voting stake in News Corp. might have cooled.

The move comes amid ongoing negotiations between News Corp. and Liberty over how News Corp. can buy back Liberty’s stake in Mr. Murdoch’s company. Liberty obtained the stake late last year as Australian shareholders sold their stakes in News Corp. as the company was changing its status to an American company from an Australian one.

While analysts say the move will provide a bounce to News Corp. shares, many are also thinking it’s a signal that negotiations between News Corp. and Liberty are not proceeding quickly. Some analysts see the buyback as a Plan B to executing a deal with Liberty, while others think the repurchase program is designed to send a message to Liberty Chairman John Malone that News Corp. doesn’t need to do a deal.