Rupert's World - News Corp.'s
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
Fox Television Stations
BSkyB (United Kingdom and Ireland)
Fox Sports (Australia)
Sky PerfecTV (Japan)
Fox Movie Channel
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Digital
Fox Sports Enterprises
Fox Sports en Español
Fox Sports Net
Fox Sports World
National Geographic Channel
Los Angeles Dodgers and cable rights
Magazines and inserts
The Weekly Standard
New York Post
Nine U.K. newspapers
22 Australian newspapers
Some other assets
National Rugby League
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
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
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.