Rupert Murdoch now has a clear run at America’s biggest satellite-TV operator Hughes Electronics after his only serious rival dropped out.
Telecoms group SBC Communications, which entered the auction in February [WAMN: 10-Feb-03], on Tuesday told General Motors that it would not be bidding for the auto giant’s stake in Hughes, owner of satellite-television network DirecTV. The telecoms group reportedly decided the move posed too much of a risk.
That leaves Murdoch’s News Corporation as the only bidder. Liberty Media was expected to make an offer, but recently decided to back the NewsCorp bid instead [WAMN: 10-Feb-03].
There may still be some involvement in the auction from cable operator Cablevision, but this is unlikely to turn into a serious offer to rival NewsCorp.
The Murdoch empire – which has long coveted DirecTV as the jewel in the crown of its global satellite portfolio – is now said to be finalising a cash bid for GM’s stake in Hughes plus enough publicly listed shares to give it a significant minority holding.
Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff