Rupert's World - News Corp.'s businesses April 10, 2004




20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox Español
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Int.
20th Century Fox Television
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Studios Australia
Fox Studios Baja
Fox Studios L.A.
Fox Television Studios
U.S. television
Fox Broadcasting
Fox Television Stations

Satellite operations

BSkyB (United Kingdom and Ireland)
Fox Sports (Australia)
Foxtel (Australia)
Sky PerfecTV (Japan)
Star (Asia)
Stream (Italy)


Fox Movie Channel
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Digital
Fox Sports Enterprises
Fox Sports en Español
Fox Sports Net
Fox Sports World
FX Channel
National Geographic Channel
Speed Channel
Los Angeles Dodgers and cable rights

Magazines and inserts

The Weekly Standard
Gemstar/TV Guide
Four others


New York Post
Nine U.K. newspapers
22 Australian newspapers

Book publishers

HarperCollins Publishers

Some other assets

Festival Records
Fox Interactive
Mushroom Records
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor

Source: News Corp.

Rupert Murdock has successfully encircled the globe with satellite television. His "brass ring" was the United States dominant pay satellite, DirecTV, which he picked up for $6.6 billion.

Murdock offered more than $20 billion for the company in 2001, and even made a $30 billion-plus offer in 2000. Earlier deals fell through due to FCC concerns about foreign ownership. Rival Echostar tried to merge with DirecTV but the FCC, fearing a monopoly, blocked it. Now, with telecom in the duldrums, Murdoch picked it up for a song.

DirecTV is owned by Hughes Electronics, which is in turn owned by General Motors. In the deal, News Corp. would buy the 19.9 percent of Hughes shares owned by GM and 14 percent of its publicly owned shares, giving New Corp. controlling interest in Hughes.

Murdock's reach is breathtaking. His pay satellites include BSkyB (United Kingdom and Ireland), Fox Sports (Australia), Foxtel (Australia), Sky PerfecTV (Japan), Star (Asia), and Stream (Italy).

Consumers had better hold onto their wallets , because cable and satellite prices will go through the roof," said Consumers Union's always quotable Gene Kimmelman. "This deal shows the fundamental danger of a market with too few players."

DirecTV might trigger new interest in EchoStar, the other major satellite television company. Some insiders speculate another entertainment company might seek to match News Corporation's leverage by buying EchoStar.

Both Echostar and Hughes are moving to Ka band (30 GHz) satellites with spot beams for 2-way internet access. Echostart has WildBlue while Hughes has Spaceway. John Malone, who sold TCI to AT&T for $54 billion in 1999, is NewsCorp's largest shareholder.

Malone recently invested $119 million in competitor WildBlue and now has a 37% voting interest in the firm. The fate of Hughes' Spaceway, planning to launch its first satellite sometime in mid-2003 with service in 2004, is still unknown.

In related matters, Malone's Liberty Media bought $220 million worth of shares in USA Interactive, run by media veteran Barry Diller and home to business such as Ticketmaster and Expedia.

The Yankee Group forecasts DBS will continue its steady subscriber growth to serve 27.1 million U.S. households by the end of 2007. By 2007, digital cable, driven by VOD and high-definition television, will serve 39 million homes -- 12 million more than DBS. Satellite, however, will continue to use digital video recording to compete with cable.

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