Date: 17th November 2000

How To Split A Pie In The Sky

Rupert Murdoch, who had hoped to use proceeds from a public offering of Sky Global Networks to make a bid for Hughes Electronics' DirecTV, is considering alternative strategies now that the IPO has been postponed, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported Thursday, citing unnamed company executives. One plan being considered, the newspaper said, is a complicated reverse takeover of Hughes that might involve Microsoft or other major investors.

(Today's --Friday -- Wall street Journal quoted Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as saying that he is in discussions with Murdoch about becoming part of the Sky Global venture. He already holds a 3.1-percent stake in News Corp.) According to the Guardian, several Hughes investors are likely to welcome such a plan. It quoted Larry Haverty of State Street Research as saying, "As shareholders of Hughes, we would run to own a company that includes DirecTV and BSkyB. And we wouldn't be alone." The newspaper did not cite a reaction from General Motors, which owns 30 percent of Hughes.

Source: Studio Briefing