The anti-Malone 'poison pill' plan devised by News Corporation to fend-off a likely attempt by US cable tycoon John Malone to snatch power from the group's ruling Murdoch family [WAMN 09-Nov-04], was discussed and approved by a small group of NewsCorp directors last weekend.

However, before it can be implemented, the scheme needs the approval of the full board in formal session - a ritual likely to take place next week, following the group's reincorporation from an Australian to US-domiciled company.

Patriarch Murdoch "has put in place a rights plan to protect the best interests of all shareholders". The so-called 'poison pill' would kick-in if someone were to aggressively build a holding above 15% without NewsCorp's approval.

In which case NewsCorp would have the ability to issue bonus shares to every stockholder other than the aggressor - thereby neatly diluting the latter's holding.

Malone's acquisition vehicle Liberty Media has denied it has any aggressive intentions, claiming "we view ourselves as allies of NewsCorp and the Murdoch family".

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