News Corp. to nest birds in Sky Global

News Corp. hopes to repay debt

It’s finally official: News Corp. will consolidate its worldwide satellite holdings, heretofore known collectively as Platco, under new moniker Sky Global Networks, the Aussie media conglomerate announced Tuesday.

The company also filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Ex-change Commission as a prerequisite to an initial public offering of class A common shares in the new company, to come before the end of the year. Gotham Investment Banks Goldman Sachs & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. will act as joint managers for the deal.

Sky Global comprises satellite distribution networks around the world. Its major properties include large stakes in London satellite broadcasting powerhouse British Sky Broadcasting, Star TV in Asia, Sky Brazil and Sky Mexico in Latin America, as well as significant equity investments in NDS Group, which makes software for digital TV networks, and TV Guide.

Satellite interactive content

The newly rebundled Sky Global assets represent News Corp.’s biggest bet on the future of television — a future in which News Corp. birds circling the planet will beam interactive, digital content to set-top boxes from Seoul to Santiago. The network could enjoy giant success in developing countries by leapfrogging the stunted landline communications networks in those regions and offering interactive content on the airwaves.

According to the filing, News Corp. expects Sky Global to incur “substantial” op-erating losses for the foreseeable future, as the network continues its aggressive buildout, especially in several underserved communications markets in Southeast Asia.

News Corp. will use the proceeds of the offering, which will be up to $100 million, to repay its debt, support the growth of the satellite platforms and to cover general operating expenses, according to the filing. The shares are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol SGN.

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