Following News Corporation's $1.3 billion (€1.29bn; £0.82bn) secondary stock offering in its Fox Entertainment Group offshoot this week, speculation around Wall Street and in media watering holes is growing that Rupert Murdoch is teeing-up for a second strike at Hughes Electronics, parent of DirecTV.

The latter, for long an object of Murdochian desire, is currently going through the motions of an $18bn agreed merger with Charlie Ergen’s EchoStar Communications [WAMN: 07-Oct-02], a deal which seems increasing unlikely to complete in the face of implacable opposition from the Department of Justice and twenty-three individual states which have sued to block the merger on antitrust grounds.

As WAMN commented five weeks ago: ‘A smile is said to be cracking the dour features of global media mogul Rupert Murdoch, a former contender for the hand of DirecTV, who claims to oppose the merger because of his rooted moral objection to monopolies.’

The smile has now broadened to display the mogul’s teeth.

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