Murdoch's holey grail

Ries, Ivor
August 2001
Bulletin with Newsweek;8/21/2001, Vol. 119 Issue 6288, p46
For almost two decades Australia's most famous media baron, Rupert Murdoch, has been chasing the holy grail of a global satellite distribution system to provide everyone, everywhere with access to the output of his Hollywood film and television studios. But last week, just when it seemed that the grail was within the grasp of the 70-year-old tycoon at long last, Murdoch's plans for a global "cosmic armada" of satellite broadcasters suffered a serious setback. The setback came in a direct challenge from a rival media crusader, former professional gambler turned entertainment mogul, Charlie Ergen. Ergen's EchoStar Communications Group lobbed a $62.5bn takeover bid for Hughes Electronics, a General Motors-controlled company that owns DirectTV, the world's largest satellite television broadcaster and the dominant player in the U.S. market. Murdoch and Ergen struck a hand-shake deal, News Corp. would sell its ASkyB assets to EchoStar and in return News Corp. would end up with a large but non-controlling stake in EchoStar.


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