News Corp signs satellite TV deal

After months of frustration, and one deal that imploded, Rupert Murdoch has secured a means of floating his satellite television service above the market that has hitherto eluded him: the United States.

An agreement was announced yesterday between Mr Murdoch's News Corporation and the owners of the PrimeStar satellite broadcaster to restructure the company with News Corp emerging with a 30 per cent non-voting stake.

In return, News Corp and its partner, MCI Communications, will contribute to the newly public company, to be named PrimeStar Inc, satellite assets valued at $1.1bn (pounds 672m) as well as valuable transmission sites and federal licences.

Left with 70 per cent of the company would be original PrimeStar partners Time Warner, with about 22 per cent, and Comcast, Cox Communications and MediaOne, with about 6 per cent each. PrimeStar is the second-largest satellite broadcasting service in the US after DirecTV, owned by General Motors.

The deal essentially rescues Mr Murdoch's satellite plans for the US which were left in tatters after the collapse six weeks ago of an early joint venture agreement with EchoStar of Denver, Colorado. The death of that deal has left Mr Murdoch in a morass of litigation.

"I couldn't quite say this is a replacement, but because that deal [with EchoStar] didn't work out, this is the next one we're doing," a News Corp spokesman said yesterday.

In the meantime there were reports yesterday that Mr Murdoch was on the cusp of finalising a $1.7bn deal to acquire one of the largest cable operators in the United States, International Family Entertainment.

IFE is owned by Pat Robertson, the Christian fundamentalist leader who once ran an independent candidacy for the US presidency. Its principal asset is the Family Channel, which is the ninth-largest cable channel in the US.

The PrimeStar manoeuvre also re-establishes peace between Mr Murdoch and the US cable industry that had furiously opposed his EchoStar agreement. The other main partners in the new PrimeStar all have substantial cable interests, with Time Warner being the lead player.

With EchoStar, Mr Murdoch had hoped to launch a type of satellite service that would have directly challenged the grip of the cable industry on most US television viewers.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project