Liberty Reportedly Has Designs on DirecTV

Oct 13, 2006  •  Post A Comment

A top Liberty Media executive said Thursday that the company is considering trading its stake in News Corp. for control of DirecTV, a move that would put onetime cable baron John Malone, Liberty’s chairman, at the controls of a satellite TV provider.

Speaking at a conference in New York, Greg Maffei, president and chief executive of Liberty, said, “We are saying in the marketplace that we may exchange our roughly $11 billion stake in News Corp. for a controlling stake in DirecTV,” according to Reuters.

The possibility of Mr. Malone making a deal involving DirecTV with News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch emerged last month. After Mr. Malone acquired a 20 percent stake in News Corp. in 2004, Mr. Murdoch put in a poison pill provision to prevent Mr. Malone from acquiring more shares and challenging Mr. Murdoch for control of News Corp.

Word that Mr. Murdoch was willing to relinquish control of DirecTV was seen by observers as a sign that the Internet had replaced satellite TV as a key to growing his media empire.