Murdoch's $30bn dream on hold

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The Independent Online

Rupert Murdoch is coming under pressure from two sides as he tries desperately to complete the $30bn (£21bn) deal to buy satellite broadcaster DirecTV, which has been in negotiation for more than a year.

Echostar, the rival to Mr Murdoch's News Corporation for satellite business being sold by General Motors, has secured $5.5bn of extra financing from UBS Warburg, the Swiss bank, for its offer. US analysts say Echostar's main problem is getting its deal past US regulators, while News Corp is struggling with a weak share price.

The Murdoch group's position was further weakened when it emerged that Walt Disney Corporation was trying to renegotiate its $5.3bn deal to buy Fox Family Worldwide, a business owned jointly by News Corp and Haim Saban, the controversial Israeli businessman.

Michael Eisner, Disney's chairman and chief executive, said he wanted to review the deal because of the impact on media revenues after the terrorist attacks. News Corp said there was nothing to renegotiate and the agreement, struck in July, should stand.

Mr Murdoch's dream of buying DirecTV, merging it with BSkyB and creating a global pay-TV business, is on hold. Progress was not helped by DirecTV management shake-ups which claimed the job of its boss, Mike Smith.

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