NEW YORK: The impasse between media moguls John Malone and Rupert Murdoch over the former's 19% stake in the latter's News Corporation empire could be solved with a simple asset swap.

Murdoch and the chairman of Liberty Media are reported to be considering an exchange of NewsCorp's controlling stake in US satellite broadcaster DirecTV for Malone's shares.

Negotiations between the two parties have been on and off for months and this deal would represent a significant change of heart by Murdoch who fought hard for the DirecTV stake to secure distribution of his Fox television and cable content.

Malone has always denied any predatory intentions toward NewsCorp, but his 'friendly' stake has unnerved the controlling Murdoch clan and prompted their controversial 'poison pill' defense against further encroachment [WARC News: 19-May-06].

NewsCorp's stake in DirecTV is worth around $9 billion (€7bn; £4.7bn) and Liberty's stake in NewsCorp is worth around $11bn.

Neither party has commented.

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