Now that brings back memories.

Not long ago, every move by Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal was followed closely by investors looking to trade on the coattails of one of the world's richest individuals. These days, it seems, his moves garner significantly less coverage. When the Financial Times reported on Wednesday that the prince had pledged his support to News Corp. (NYSE:NWS) Chairman Rupert Murdoch, the Times was the only major outlet I could easily find that covered the story.

This week, most media outlets instead concentrated on two main items about News Corp.: first, its impending addition to the S&P 500 Index, set to take place after the bell on Dec. 17; and second, Murdoch's plans to get into televised financial news, even as Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) CNNfn bows out.

That doesn't make the Saudi story any less interesting. That's because an awful lot of people are watching News Corp. these days following the recent news that John Malone's Liberty Media (NYSE:L) plans to boost its stake in Murdoch's family business to 17% through a deal with Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER).

Malone has said he has no nefarious plans to wield sway at News Corp., but the Australian mogul is nevertheless seemingly on edge: His company adopted a "poison pill" plan meant to help dilute Liberty's ownership should it try to buy more. The two men plan to meet face to face; that they haven't yet is interesting enough. And yesterday, bin Talal said he was poised to buy more News Corp. and back Rupert with voting power should the situation call for it.

Perhaps this is a tempest in a teacup, but when the stakes are a $19 billion media company with News Corp.'s assets, it's a teacup worth watching. Despite gentlemanly talk aplenty, it doesn't seem out of the question that Liberty would try to force an investor referendum on the leadership of Murdoch, his well-placed sons, and their nearly 30% News Corp. holdings. If nothing else, it's difficult to ignore the fact that the prince seems to have chosen sides before the lines were formally drawn.

Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any companies in this story.