Murdoch takes 7 stake

Irrespective of setbacks in his move on Hong Kong’s television scene, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has formally taken up the 15% foreign ownership limit in the float of Australia’s Seven Network. And national phone company Telecom has bought 10% of the $ A600 million ($ 408 million) equity raising.

According to web chairman Ivan Deveson, each will have a seat on the new board.

Speculation is rampant that Murdoch will nominate BSkyB’s Sam Chisholm as his representative on the expanded Seven board, since local newspaper exex are by law ineligible. Chisholm would have to resign his present directorship in the Nine web.

Murdoch’s Fox film and TV production is currently aligned with the Ten Network, providing it with many of its top-rated shows. With between 12 and 18 months left on the licenses, it remains to be seen if Murdoch will make the switch. Seven web insiders admit coveting the movies, but Fox TV product is less attractive since for much of it the target demographics aren’t right for the web’s profile.

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