Fox Goes to Ground, Murdoch's Indian Star in Ascendant

23 March 2005

News Corporation, the global media giant controlled by the Murdoch family via a 12.6% minority stake that magically confers 29.5% of the voting rights, has spent $6.2 billion (€4.71bn; £3.27bn) to privatize its barnstorming US TV property, Fox Entertainment Group.

Although NewsCorp unassailably controls Fox via its 82.4% holding, the buyout move simplifies the group's corporate structure and will bolster Rupert Murdoch's edgy negotiations to reduce (or eliminate) the significant bridgehead stake built by cable entrepreneur John C Malone.

The Fox deal is now completed and its shares will cease trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

  • Meantime, the patriarch of clan Murdoch met Tuesday with Indian government officials amid expectations that NewsCorp's pan-Asian satellite TV unit Star is on the verge of gaining a licence to broadcast directly to homes across the the subcontinent, breaking the monopoly of local cable operators.

    Star executives are confident they have at last met the stringent regulatory conditions that have delayed the joint licence bid with local mega-conglomerate Tata Group. Tata is notionally the senior partner with 80% of the joint venture, Star/NewsCorp holding the balance.

    Tata's seeming supremacy satisfies legislative limitations on foreign ownership of Indian media, at the same time opening many business and governmental doors that might otherwise remain closed.

    Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff