News will pool bird unit, investment arm into one

Move follows previous combo

LONDON — The Mail, a British Sunday newspaper, has reported that News Corp. is planning to combine its satellite and investment units into one company in a July flotation worth $49.2 billion.

The report comes only weeks after News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch announced plans to form Platco, a new multibillion dollar business pooling his satellite and digital interests.

The Mail said tech, media and telecom companies Yahoo, Microsoft, Finland’s Nokia and France’s Vivendi may take strategic holdings in the new company.

Earlier this month, Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier said he was open to talks with Murdoch on the Platco project. Murdoch plans to group News Corp.’s 40% stake in British digital broadcaster BSkyB, its Asia television unit Star TV, Australian Foxtel and Sky Latin America in Platco.

The recent merger of British-based Pearson TV with pan-European broadcaster CLT/Ufa has set the pace for media companies anxious to build across borders to compete.

On Friday, however, German media company Kirch dismissed a report in the Financial Times the same day which suggested that the company was planning to invest in Murdoch’s Platco project.

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