30 October 2000

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation is reported to be negotiating with Microsoft to sell the software giant a $1 billion stake in consolidated worldwide satellite subsidiary Sky Global.

The deal would give Microsoft a 3.5% holding in Sky Global, whose flotation was recently delayed until next year [WAMN: 19-Oct-00]. Such a move is in line with News Corp’s strategy to sell small shares to big investors.

An agreement between Microsoft and News Corp would give the software company an extra platform from which to launch its interactive WebTV software. Sky Global may also look to acquire DirecTV, with which Microsoft already has a partnership.

The figure of $1bn for 3.5% values Sky Global at around $35bn in total, slightly less than Murdoch’s estimation of $40bn last month. However, the talks are believed to be only at a tentative stage.

News source: Wall Street Journal