Markets Give Murdoch Thumbs-Down Over DirecTV

11 April 2003

Investors failed to share Rupert Murdoch’s delight in the realisation of his ambition to acquire DirecTV, America’s largest satellite television operator.

Instead, concerned at the complexity of News Corporation’s $6.6 billion (€6.13bn; £4.2bn) deal with General Motors – to say nothing of the massive addition to its existing debt burden – investors on Thursday voted with their feet.

Fox, the vehicle that holds most of Murdoch’s stateside entertainment assets, saw its stock plunge by 17% as the punters rushed to divest themselves of shares.

Shares in NewsCorp itself took a lesser hammering. They slid on the New York Stock Exchange by almost seven percent as the market twitched over the dilutive effect of the Byzantine deal. This will see a mix of cash and shares exchanged for a 34% controlling stake in the automaker’s satellite TV unit Hughes Electronics, parent of DirecTV.

According to The Times of London, analysts whined at the lack of information on the deal’s tangible benefits. [If 11.3 million satellite TV subscribers in the US and Latin America don’t speak for themselves, perhaps the entrail-rakers should consult the first sixth grade business studies student who crosses their path.]

Data sourced from: Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff