Date: 13th December 2000

News Corp Shares Take A Dive

Shares in Rupert Murdoch's News Corp plummeted on the Sydney stock exchange today (Wednesday) amid concern that the company may be forced to buy the nearly half stake of Fox Family Worldwide that it doesn't already own from partner Saban Entertainment and thereby face a cash crunch that would undercut its ability to acquire the DirecTV satellite service.

Standard & Poor's said in Sydney today that it would likely downgrade News Corp's credit rating outlook to "negative" from "stable" if it is forced to buy the rest of the Fox Family operation. News Corp shares fell to A$15.90, its lowest point since last January.

Meanwhile, today's Los Angeles Times reported that AOL has suddenly become a suitor for DirecTV and that executives of the online company are scheduled to meet next week with officials of Hughes Electronics, DirecTV's owner, to discuss a possible acquisition.

Source: Studio Briefing