Malone Challenges Murdoch over NewsCorp Stake

31 March 2005

The clash of media titans Rupert Murdoch and John Malone could provide a thrilling spectacle as they square-up over ownership of News Corporation shares.

Cable mogul Malone's Liberty Media currently holds an 18% stake in the Murdoch family-controlled NewsCorp - shares the clan wants back to maintain its control of the business.

Despite "conversations" last year about a cash deal worth around $4 billion (€3bn, £1.9bn) plus a non-strategic asset to circumvent tax implications, formal negotiations have yet to begin. And Malone has now made it plain he intends to play hardball.

He says: "I am less interested in getting redeemed with a cash-rich offer.I would prefer to hold the position or enhance the position or find a way to distribute it to Liberty shareholders."

Murdochs major and minor so far remain zip-lipped.

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