In its own way, watching corporate superstars like News Corp.'s
Malone and Murdoch took a major step this week toward resolving a two-year standoff. News Corp.'s shareholders approved an $11 billion asset swap, which will increase Murdoch's control over his company while giving Malone and Liberty control of DirecTV
Murdoch began investing in DirecTV in 2003, with an eye toward creating a global satellite operation. Since then, he's apparently decided that satellite's ability to compete with cable has been diminished by the attractiveness of cable's triple-play offerings. In 2004, Malone began investing in News Corp., prompting Murdoch to install a poison-pill takeover defense for his company.
Now, Malone will be able to call the shots at DirecTV, and Murdoch will be freed from what he apparently perceived as a looming takeover threat. The Murdoch family will also effectively increase its ownership of News Corp. to 38% of the total shares, from their current 31%. The deal must now gain FCC approval; it may be completed by the middle of this year.
Both superstars continue to come up winners, and I believe that even Fools with little taste for more traditional athletic pursuits should keep an eye on the teams being fielded at News Corp. and Liberty.
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