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Kicking the
tires at GM.
RUPERT: “I WANT MY DirecTV”
News Corp. Rumored To Be Eyeing GM For Satellite TV

March 24, 2000

Is Rupert Murdoch looking to add another toy to a media empire which includes the Los Angeles Dodgers, the New York Post and "The Simpsons"?

The latest dish revolves around just that, as rumors swirl that Murdoch's News Corp. will team up with AT&T and Liberty Media Group to acquire General Motors—the home of the Cadillac, among other luxury cars—in order to grab the automaker’s DirecTV satellite operation. You'd think he'd be satisfied with a pair of rabbit ears and some aluminium foil.

DirecTV, the largest provider of wireless TV services in the U.S., would be a significant addition to the holdings of Australia-based News Corp., which has been stockpiling satellite TV companies around the world. Additionally, DirecTV’s satellites are used to provide wireless Internet services, and that business is expected to boom in the not-too-distant future.

After CNBC speculated about the potential acquisition yesterday, News Corp. retorted that said speculation was “entirely false and without merit,'” but GM stock took a healthy jump nonetheless. So did shares of GM subsidiary Hughes Electronics Corp., which encompasses DirecTV.

Ironically, Hughes’ market value—$60 billion-plus—is now $6 billion larger than that of its parent company, despite the fact that GM is the world’s largest auto manufacturer, but such phenomena are common in the brave new world of Internet economy.

While the carmaker was mum on the subject, it’s assumed that General Motors would consider such a move as a hostile takeover bid, but they're more than willing to lease Rupe a used Oldsmobile at a fraction of the cost.

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