Monday, September 26, 2005

Saudi Prince Backs Murdoch, Ups News Corp. Stake

"NEW YORK - The title of this financial romance: Rupert and the prince. The players: The chairman of News Corp. (nyse: NWS - news - people ) and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

The billionaire aristocrat's office on Tuesday announced he upped his stake in the media and entertainment colossus to 5.46% of voting shares.

But Alwaleed's statement went beyond mere dollars and cents--and Saudi riyals--as the prince's statement also included a more personal cri du coeur, voicing his support for Rupert Murdoch's leadership.

In November, Alwaleed had already vouchsafed Murdoch his comradeship, offering to back the chairman by buying more News Corp. shares via the Saudi's investment company, Kingdom. The comforting words came as Liberty Media (nyse: L - news - people ) began to rattle its sabers. Last month, Liberty Chairman John Malone menacingly said he'd consider raising Liberty's 18% voting stake in News Corp.; Murdoch's firm extended a "poison pill" provision to block him.

In Tuesday's statement, Alwaleed, ranked No. 5 on the Forbes World's Richest People list, declared, "Last November I said that I had the utmost confidence in Mr. Murdoch, his management team and his succession planning, and that if necessary, the Kingdom companies would replace their non-voting shares with voting shares." He continued, "The Kingdom companies now own a significant interest in News Corporation voting shares and may purchase more if the situation warrants.""
Here is the story. Don't look good for the news when Baghdad Bob just bought the channel...I wonder how come this did not raise the same alarms as the China buying US oil company did. Don't anyone think that congress should have held at least one hearing? Who exactly is minding the store.


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