News Corp. will spin off its Sky Global Networks in a public offering with or without a DirecTV deal, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Lachlan Murdoch, News Corp.'s deputy COO, told a New York financial analysts conference Wednesday that News Corp. plans a Sky Global IPO regardless of whether it can strike a deal to buy Hughes Eelctronics' DirecTV. "We are still on track to have an IPO of our Sky Global Network assets regardless of what transpires in the United States," Murdoch said. He didn't say what that track was.
Murdoch described the troubled Hughes talks as "extraordinarily difficult," declaring News Corp. wouldn't "heavily discount" its "prized assets" to strike a deal. Hughes' Chairman Michael Smith that there isn't enough value in News Corp.'s proposal.
Murdoch said the company is standing by a previously stated forecast for operating income between US$1.75 billion and US$1.85 billion for this fiscal year ending June 30, but confirmed the result will probably land nearer the bottom of that range.
News Corp. has been eager to strike a DirecTV deal, with that service's 10 million subscribers in the U.S. providing a crucial cornetstone for Sky Global's international distribution platform.