Media mogul Rupert Murdoch's patience is to be tested as he bids to simplify the structure of his US-based News Corporation empire.

Directors of Fox Entertainment, which NewsCorp has offered to buy out in its entirety, have asked for more time to consider whether to recommend the deal - possible shorthand for prising more cash out of the magnate's pockets.

For the buyout to go ahead 50% of the minority shareholders have to accept the offer. NewsCorp already owns more than 82.1% of Fox equity and has dangled a $7 billion (€5.4bn, £3.7bn) carrot for the remainder of the shares [WAMN: 10-Jan-2005].

Fox's assets include controversial cable news channel Fox News, the eponymous movie studio and the DirecTV, the largest satellite operator in the US.

The Fox bid might also make it easier for NewsCorp to agree a deal with John Malone's Liberty Media, which last year increased its voting stake in News Corp to 18%.

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