SBC sniffing stalls Hughes stock

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Hughes Electronics Corp.'s stock didn't move much on news that telco SBC Communications Inc. is
sniffing around the company's planned auction.

Hughes, which owns direct-broadcast satellite service DirecTV Inc., saw its stock edge up 5 percent
to $10.20.

SBC's, in turn, fell 3 percent to $24.50.

SBC has long marketed DirecTV to its subscribers, but chairman Ed Whitacre
has shut down or sold a variety of other terrestrial-video businesses SBC
started or inherited when it took over Ameritech Corp.

Since Hughes' deal to sell out to EchoStar Communications Corp. collapsed last
fall, it's appeared that News Corp. is the only serious suitor.

Other media companies are expected to sign confidentiality agreements this
week to get a look at DirecTV's books.

In the past, Viacom Inc. and Comcast Corp. have looked at DirecTV's books but never
made an offer.