Murdoch Slaps New Bid on DirecTV Table

01 May 2001

Rarely thwarted in his ambitions, media mogul Rupert Murdoch has no intention of letting DirecTV slip through his fingers while breath - and dollars - remain.

Word among analysts and DirecTV shareholders is that Murdoch’s NewsCorp has suddenly upped its offer for America’s leading satellite broadcaster, a move that could spell victory for the Australian-American tycoon.

DirecTV is owned by Hughes Electronics, in which General Motors has a 33% stake. The improved offer will be considered today by the GM board and insiders say its decision will be as much influenced by the inability of Hughes’ chairman Michael Smith to find another credible suitor as by the extra cash on the table.

The News Corp-GM negotiations, on the verge of collapse three months ago, are said to "have made progress" following a meeting in Detroit last week between Murdoch and Rick Wagoner, GM chief executive [WAMN: 23-Apr-01]. The latest NewsCorp bid, say analysts, appears to raise the premium for Hughes by 5%-8%.

Success would allow Murdoch to merge DirecTV with his Sky Global assets, creating a worldwide broadcasting colossus with an estimated worth of $70 billion.

News source: Financial Times