Murdoch Reveals Hitch in Malone Negotiations

26 September 2005

News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch last week revealed why his efforts to wrest back voting stock from US cable pioneer John Malone have so far proved fruitless.

He told an investors conference in New York that Malone's Liberty Media wanted to acquire the National Geographic TV channel, majority owned by NewsCorp, in return for some of the 18% of voting shares it has acquired in the media empire.

But the deal was vetoed by the National Geographic Society and negotiations stalled.

The Murdoch clan has a 29% controlling stake in NewsCorp.

The company's board has set up a controversial "poison pill" defense [WAMN: 12-Aug-05] to stop Malone laying hands on any more voting stock, despite his assurances that the investment is long-term and not predatory.

Murdoch hopes, however, that talks will resume. He says: "It's up to John. He's got various plans and if he executes them, the poison pill will go away."

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff