Media titans Murdoch, Malone on the move

A pair of media titans, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, are starting to make waves in a communications space where mergers & acquisitions are heating up.

Most recently, Cablevision Systems surprised everyone by grabbing Bresnan Communications' properties away from the likes of Malone and Charter Communications. Now Murdoch is in the mood to build his British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) stake and Malone's Liberty Media is spinning off units to focus more closely on acquisitions.

Murdoch's moves have media watchers fascinated. News Corp. already owns 39 percent of the British satellite broadcasting company but wants it all for $11.5 billion. It appears inevitable that it will happen, too, as the only stumbling block is price. What will happen then is another question. Some analysts predict it will lead to more tie-ins between other Murdoch properties, products and services.

Malone, meanwhile, is at the helm of a conglomerate that is spinning of its Liberty Capital and Starz pay-TV units "to better pursue our strategic objectives, including acquisitions using stock," according to Liberty CEO Greg Maffei. Malone also recently relinquished his leadership role in satellite provider DirecTV, leading some to believe that he's back in the market for U.S. cable properties. He's already announced his intention to pursue properties in Europe.

For more:
- Hollywood Reporter has this story
- see this story
- and this Reuters story

Related articles:
BSkyB, News Corp. agree to work toward deal
Last MSO standing: Cablevision wins Bresnan sweepstakes with $1.36 billion bid
What's next for Malone after stepping down as DirecTV chairman?