Let's Swap Some Media Assets

Pulling off the kind of blockbuster trade that will send ripples through fantasy media leagues everywhere, News Corp. (NYSE: NWS  ) and Liberty (Nasdaq: LCAPA  ) have completed an asset sale. If you thought that Allen Iverson going to Denver earlier this week made for a league-altering swap, that's chicken feed compared with this deal, which has News Corp. sending over its 38.4% stake in DirecTV (NYSE: DTV  ) , $550 million in cash, and three of its FSN regional sports networks in exchange for Liberty's 16.3% stake in News Corp. itself.

What's that? There's no such thing as fantasy media leagues? Pity. Still, it's a gargantuan trade, without any of the mysterious "player to be named later" aftertaste.

As with most deals, each company believes that it's getting the better end of the bargain. News Corp. is noting that the deal will be immediately accretive to earnings. It also announced an $11 billion share buyback that, if completed at current prices, would pretty much let the company retire the 16% stake that it's acquiring from Liberty. More importantly, Rupert Murdoch will sleep better knowing that a competitor is no longer walking around with a significant minority stake in his media empire.

Liberty should also be fanning its feathers. The collector of media properties now has a few more networks in its arsenal, some welcome spending money, and a hefty chunk of the leader in satellite television. Yes, DirecTV is huge. It bears noting that, earlier today, its silver-medalist rival EchoStar (Nasdaq: DISH  ) announced that its DISH Network lapped the 13 million subscriber mark. DirecTV, meanwhile, services 15.6 million users.

So, yes, it does seem like a win-win deal on paper. The jury is still out as to how well Iverson will pair up with Carmelo Anthony in Denver, so at least the News Corp./Liberty is one major trade this week that we can score right away.

Now I'm off to pitch my idea for that fantasy media league stuff to some rotisserie-league heavies.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of media stocks and midseason trades, but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.TheFool has a disclosure policy.


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