Feb 4, 2014

Media briefs: Murdoch v Malone … Super Bowl TV record …

Murdoch v Malone: the return match ... Reporting from Arnhemland: surreal experience ... Super Bowl sets new US TV record ...

Murdoch v Malone: the return match. Rupert Murdoch’s two media giants, 21st Century Fox and News Corp, report half-year financial results on Friday. You can bet Murdoch, if he attends either briefing, won’t raise the rapidly growing pay TV empire that John Malone is putting together. In Europe and in the UK, Murdoch is now running headlong into Malone, who has proven to be Murdoch’s nemesis twice in the past decade, at a cost of over $US5 billion.

The first clash was a decade ago when Malone raided News Corp’s share register and picked up an 23% stake as Murdoch shifted the company’s domicile to the US from Australia. Malone was finally bought out with cash and shares in DirecTV and several smaller regional TV businesses. Malone then used that to float DirectTV, make billions of dollars and then sell down his stake. In Australia, Malone held out selling control of Austar to News/Foxtel for several years, but eventually forced Foxtel, 50% controlled by Murdoch, to pay close to $2 billion for Austar in 2012. Austar, the regional pay TV business, was 54% controlled by Liberty Global, one of Malone’s key companies. That gave Liberty well over $US1 billion in cash.

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