NEW YORK: Liberty Media chairman John C Malone (pictured) on Friday primed the Wall Street rumor pump by increasing his company's holding in DirecTV from 41% to 48% - lifting the stake to the cusp of outright ownership.

The move comes just two months after the wily tycoon crowbarred the stake from the grip of Rupert Murdoch, swapping his substantial stake in News Corporation for its controlling holding in DirecTV.

While only Malone knows what Malone's plans for the satellite TV giant are - and with the money men down to their last few billion - a deal-hungry Wall Street is crossing its fingers that this could be the start of something big.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff